Skip to main content

Leaf Litter Decomposition and Nutrient Release Under Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Nitrogen Plus Phosphorus Additions in a Savanna in Central Brazil

Abstract

The aim of this study was to determine leaf decomposition rates and nutrient release in a cerrado sensu stricto under nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and N plus P additions. The experiment was carried out in an area located in the Ecological Reserve of the Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística, near Brasília (15° 56’ S, 47° 53’ W). Between 1998 and 2006, 100 kg ha−1 year−1 of N (N treatment), P (P treatment) and N plus P (NP treatment) were applied to 16 225 m2 plots, arranged in a completely randomized design. Litterfall was collected at the end of dry season (September 2006) and oven dried (60 °C) for 72 h. Litter bags with 10 g of leaf litter were incubated in situ for 453 days to determine decomposition rate. Nitrogen and P concentrations and mass loss were measured during the incubation process. Decomposition rates of leaf litter in N plots did not differ in relation to those in control plots. Leaf litter decomposition rates increased in P (+ 18.6 %) and NP (+ 27.4 %) plots, where there was a greater N (in NP plots) and P (in P and NP plots) initial concentration in litter relative to the control plots (p < 0.05). Leaf litter in the N treatment had the highest N mass loss, and together with NP treatment, the smallest P mass loss. Nitrogen addition increased N mass loss, while the combined addition of N and P resulted in an immobilization of N in leaf litter. When the nutrients are supplied separately, there is greater mass loss of N with N addition, and greater mass loss of P with P addition compared to that observed when N and P are supplied together. The results indicate that if the availability of P is not increased proportionally to the availability of N, the losses of N are intensified during the decomposition process.

Keywords

  • Biogeochemical cycling
  • Cerrado
  • Nutrient limitation
  • Woody plants

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-7939-6_17
  • Chapter length: 9 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   189.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-94-007-7939-6
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD   249.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book
USD   249.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Fig. 17.1
Fig. 17.2
Fig. 17.3

References

  • Allison, S. D., & Vitousek, P. M. (2004). Rapid nutrient cycling in leaf litter from invasive plants in Hawaii. Oecologia, 141, 612–619.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Attwill, P. M., & Adams, M. A. (1993). Nutrient cycling in forests. New Phytologist, 124(4), 561–582.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Bobbink, R., Hicks, K., Galloway, J., Spranger, T., Alkemade, R., Ashmore, M., Bustamante, M., Cinderby, S., Davidson, E., Dentener, F., Emmett, B., Erisman, J. W., Fenn, M., Gilliam, F., Nordin, A., Pardo, L., & de Vries, W. (2010). Global assessment of nitrogen deposition effects on terrestrial plant diversity: A synthesis. Ecological Applications, 20(1), 30–59.

    CAS  CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Bustamante, M. M. C., Medina, E., Asner, G. P., Nardoto, G. B., & Garcia-Montiel, D. C. (2006). Nitrogen cycling in tropical and temperate savannas. Biogeochemistry, 79, 209–237.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Cleveland, C. C., Reed, S. C., & Townsend, A. R. (2006). Nutrient regulation of organic matter decomposition in a tropical rain forest. Ecology, 87(2), 492–503.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Eiten, G. (1972). The cerrado vegetation of Brazil. Botanical Review, 38, 201–341.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • EMBRAPA (1999) Manual de análises químicas de solos, plantas e fertilizantes. 1a ed. Embrapa, Brasília

    Google Scholar 

  • Falkowski, P. G., Scholes, R. J., Boyle, E., Canadell, J., Canfield, D., & Elser, J. (2000). The global carbon cycle: A test of our knowledge of Earth as a system. Science, 290, 291–296.

    CAS  CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Filoso, S., Martinelli, L. A., Howarth, R. W., Boyer, E. W., & Dentener, F. (2006). Human activities changing the nitrogen cycle in Brazil. Biogeochemistry, 79, 61–89.

    CAS  CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Fisk, M. C., & Fahey, T. J. (2001). Microbial biomass and nitrogen cycling responses to fertilization and litter removal in young northern hardwood forests. Biogeochemistry, 53, 201–223.

    CAS  CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Haridasan, M. (1994) Solos do Distrito Federal. In: M. Novaes-Pinto (Ed.), Cerrado: Caracterização, ocupação e perspectivas—O caso do Distrito Federal. Editora da Universidade de Brasília/SEMATEC, Brasília, pp. 321–344.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hobbie, S. (2008). Nitrogen effects on decomposition: A five-year experiment in eight temperate sites. Ecology, 89(9), 2633–2644.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Hobbie, S. E., & Vitousek, P. M. (2004). Nutrient limitation of decomposition in Hawaiian forests. Ecology, 81(7), 1867–1877.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Jacobson, T. K. B., Bustamante, M. C., & Kozovits, A. R. (2011). Diversity of shrub tree layer, leaf litter decomposition and N release in a Brazilian Cerrado under N, P and N plus P additions. Environmental Pollution, 159, 2236–2242.

    CAS  CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Klink, C. A., & Machado, R. B. (2005). Conservation of the Brazilian Cerrado. Conservation Biology, 19(3), 707–713.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Knorr, M., Frey, S. D., & Curtis, P. S. (2005). Nitrogen additions and litter decomposition: A meta analysis. Ecology, 86(12), 3252–3257.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Kozovits, A. R., Bustamante, M. M. C., Garofalo, C. R., Bucci, S., Franco, A. C., Goldstein, G., & Meinzer, F. C. (2007). Nutrient resorption and patterns of litter production and decomposition in a Neotropical Savanna. Functional Ecology, 21, 1034–1043.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Nardoto, G. B., Bustamante, M. M. C., Pinto, A. S. P., & Klink, C. A. (2006). Nutrient use efficiency at ecosystem and species level in savanna areas of Central Brazil and impacts of fire. Journal of Tropical Ecology, 22, 191–201.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • O’ Connel, A. M. (1994). Decomposition and nutrient content of litter in a fertilized eucalypt forest. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 17, 159–166.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Olson, J. S. (1963). Energy storage and the balance of producers and decomposers in ecological systems. Ecology, 44(2), 322–331.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Peres, J. R. R., Suhet, A. R., Vargas, M. A. T., & Drozdowicz, A. (1983). Litter production in areas of Brazilian “cerrados”. Pesquisa Agropecuária Brasileira, 18(9), 1037–1043.

    Google Scholar 

  • Vitousek, P. M., Mooney, H. A., Lubchenco, J., & Melilo, J. M. (1997). Human domination of earth’s ecosystem. Science, 227, 494–499.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Vitousek, P. M. (2004). Nutrient cycling and limitation: Hawaii as a model system. Princeton Environmental Institute Series (p. 223). Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Weedon, J. T., Cornwell, K., Cornelissen, J. H. C., Zanne, A. E., Wirth, C., & Coomes, D. A. (2009). Global meta-analysis of wood decomposition rates: A role for trait variation among species? Ecology Letters, 12, 45–56.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Zhang, D., Hui, D., Luo, Y., & Zhou. G. (2008). Rates of litter decomposition in terrestrial ecosystems: Global patterns and controlling factors. Journal of Plant Ecology, 1(2), 85–93.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank Regina Sartori, Gilberto B. Cosak and UnB Ecology Lab staff for valuable help. We also would like to thank the administration and staff of RECOR-IBGE. This study was funded by the Graduate Program in Ecology of the UnB, CNPq and LBA-NASA (ND-07).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Tamiel K. B. Jacobson .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2014 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Jacobson, T., Bustamante, M. (2014). Leaf Litter Decomposition and Nutrient Release Under Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Nitrogen Plus Phosphorus Additions in a Savanna in Central Brazil. In: Sutton, M., Mason, K., Sheppard, L., Sverdrup, H., Haeuber, R., Hicks, W. (eds) Nitrogen Deposition, Critical Loads and Biodiversity. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-7939-6_17

Download citation