Pedosphere 16(3): 380--389, 2006
ISSN 1002-0160/CN 32-1315/P
©2006 Soil Science Society of China
Published by Elsevier B.V. and Science Press
Nutrient and litter patterns in three subalpine coniferous forests of western sichuan, China
LIN Bo1,2, LIU Qing1, WU Yan1 and HE Hai1
1 Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chengdu 610041 (China). E-mail:
2 Graduate University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049 (China)
3 College of Life Sciences, Northwest A & F University, Yangling, Shaansi 712100 (China)
      Investigations were conducted to quantify litterfall, and litter and nutrient accumulation in forest floor, and to acquire information on litter decomposition and nitrogen and phosphorus release patterns in three different subalpine coniferous forests, a plantation (Pl), a secondary forest (SF), and a primitive forest (PF), in western Sichuan, China. The litter trap method was used to evaluate litterfall with the litterbag method being utilized for litter decomposition. Seasonal patterns of litterfall were similar in the three forests, with two peaks occurring in September-November and March-May. The plantation revealed an annual litterfall of 4.38×103 kg ha-1, which was similar to those of SF and PF, but Pl had a lower mass loss rate and a higher C/N ratio. The C/N ratio may be a sound predictor for the decomposition differences. N concentrations of leaf litter in both the secondary forest and primitive forest increased first and then decreased, and the percentages of their final/initial values were 108.9% and 99.9%, respectively. P concentration in the three forests increased by the end of the study. The results of litterfall and decomposition indicated that in the plantation the potential to provide nutrients for soil organic matter was similar to those of SF and PF; however, its slower decomposition rate could result in a somewhat transient accumulation of litter in the forest floor.
Key Words:  accumulation, decomposition, litterfall, nutrient release, subalpine coniferous forests
Citation: Lin, B., Liu, Q., Wu, Y. and He, H. 2006. Nutrient and litter patterns in three subalpine coniferous forests of western sichuan, China. Pedosphere. 16(3): 380-389.
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