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Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 92, Issue 2, pp 365–374 | Cite as

Leaf litter and its nutrient contribution in the cacao agroforestry system

  • Julián Pérez-FloresEmail author
  • Alejandra Arias Pérez
  • Yesenia Primo Suárez
  • Vinicio Calderón Bolaina
  • Asunción López Quiroga
Article

Abstract

Cacao agroforestry systems (cacao-AFS) produce abundant litter. After decomposing, litter releases nutrients into the soil. The aim of this research was to estimate litter production and its nutrient content in 35- and 55-year-old cacao-AFS. The research was conducted in three cacao-AFS of each age, in Cardenas, Tabasco, México. Four traps per cacao-AFS were used to collect litter. Litter was collected every 15 days for one year. It was then fractioned into cacao leaves, shade tree leaves, petioles, branches and stems, and cacao flowers and fruits. To determine nutrient content of litter, samples were composited by age of cacao-AFS and by season of the year. Then chemical analysis was done in triplicate. Data were subjected to analysis of variance, orthogonal contrasts, and Student t and Duncan tests. Cacao-AFS produce litter all year. Thirty-five-year-old cacao-AFS produced more litter than 55-year-old cacao-AFS (2042 vs 1570 kg DM ha−1 year−1). Except for the shade tree leaf fraction (559.5 vs 642 kg DM ha−1), 35-year-old cacao-AFS were superior to 55-year-old cacao-AFS in all the other litter fractions. Cacao leaf fraction was the main source of litter in cacao-AFS of both ages. Neither age of cacao-AFS nor the season of the year affected N, K, Zn or S content in litter. Orthogonal contrasts indicated statistical differences between ages of cacao-AFS for P, Ca, and Fe content in litter. Both N–P–K–Ca–Mg contents in litter of 35-year-old cacao-AFS (1.2–0.4–1.2–1.7–0.4%) and in litter of 55-year-old cacao-AFS (1.1–0.6–1.2–1.4–0.4%) are enough to recover the nutrients extracted by the cacao crop.

Keywords

Theobroma cacao Agroforestry systems Litterfall production Litterfall nutrients 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors thank to LPI-2: Agroecosistemas Sustentables of the Colegio de Postgraduados, for the support received to conduct this research.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Colegio de Postgraduados – Campus TabascoCárdenasMexico
  2. 2.Universidad Popular de la ChontalpaCárdenasMexico
  3. 3.Colegio de Postgraduados – Campus VeracruzVeracruzMexico

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