, Volume 106, Issue 3, pp 371–396 | Cite as

Topography strongly affects atmospheric deposition and canopy exchange processes in different types of wet lowland rainforest, Southwest Costa Rica

  • F. Hofhansl
  • W. WanekEmail author
  • S. Drage
  • W. Huber
  • A. Weissenhofer
  • A. Richter


Bulk precipitation and throughfall were collected in a wet lowland rainforest in SW Costa Rica on an event basis to allow modelling the contributions of dry deposition and canopy exchange to nutrient inputs and internal cycling of nutrients. Estimates based on bulk precipitation underestimated total atmospheric deposition to tropical rainforests by up to 10-fold ignoring the contributions of dry deposition. Canopy exchange contributed most of the aboveground inputs to the forest soil of Na+, about half for K+, 10% for P and Mg2+ and negligible for N, C and other elements. Tree species composition did not account for the differences found in net throughfall between forest sites, and vegetation structure (plant area index) had only a small effect on net throughfall. Forest regrowth affected net throughfall through reduced soil fertility and differences in leaf traits. Topography most significantly affected net throughfall via increased dry deposition at sites of higher elevation and via soil fertility and increased canopy exchange at down slope sites.


Canopy exchange Dry deposition Nutrient cycling Secondary succession Topography 



We thank the TRSLG for providing field access and logistic support in Costa Rica, especially Victor Cruz Garcia for assistance in field work, and the Ministerio de Ambiente y Energia (MINAE) for assisting with research permits.

Supplementary material

10533_2010_9517_MOESM1_ESM.doc (102 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 102 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Hofhansl
    • 1
  • W. Wanek
    • 1
    Email author
  • S. Drage
    • 1
  • W. Huber
    • 2
  • A. Weissenhofer
    • 2
  • A. Richter
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemical Ecology and Ecosystem ResearchUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria
  2. 2.Department of Palynology and Structural BotanyUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria

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