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Journal Article

Long-term effects of rainforest disturbance on the nutrient composition of throughfall, organic layer percolate and soil solution at Mt. Kilimanjaro


Schrumpf,  M.
Soil and Ecosystem Processes, Dr. M. Schrumpf, Department Biogeochemical Processes, Prof. E.-D. Schulze, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Schrumpf, M., Axmacher, J. C., Zech, W., Lehmann, J., & Lyaruu, H. V. C. (2007). Long-term effects of rainforest disturbance on the nutrient composition of throughfall, organic layer percolate and soil solution at Mt. Kilimanjaro. Science of the Total Environment, 376(1-3), 241-254. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2007.01.076.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000E-D5E5-1
At the lower parts of the forest belt at Mt. Kilimanjaro, selective logging has led to a mosaic of mature forest, old secondary forests 60 years), and old clearings (similar to 10 years) covered by shrub vegetation. These variations in the vegetation are reflected by differences in nutrient leaching from the canopy and in both amount and quality of litter reaching the ground, thereby also influencing mineralization rates and the composition of seepage water in litter percolate and soil solution. The aim of this study was to investigate how above- and belowground nutrient dynamics vary between regeneration stages, and if forest regeneration at the clearings is hampered by a deterioration of abiotic site conditions. K, Mg, Ca, Na and N compounds were analysed in rainfall, throughfall, organic layer percolate and the soil solution to a depth of 1.00 m at three clearings, three secondary forest and four mature forest sites. Element fluxes via throughfall showed only small variations among regeneration stages except for K and NO3-N. With 57-83 kg ha(-1) a(-1) and 2.6-4.1 kg ha(-1) a(-1) respectively, K and NO3-N fluxes via throughfall were significantly higher at the clearings than at the mature forest sites (32-37 and 0.7-1.0 kg ha(-1) a(-1) for K and NO3N). Inorganic layer percolate and in soil solution at 0.15-m soil depth, concentrations of K, Mg, Ca and N were highest at the clearings, In the organic layer percolate, median K concentrations were e.g. 7.4 mg l(-1) for the clearings but only 1.4 mg l(-1) for the mature forests, and for NO3-N, median concentrations were 3.1 mg l(-1) for the clearings but only 0.92 mg l(-1) for the mature forest sites. Still, differences in annual means between clearings and mature forests were not always significant due to a high variability within the clearings. With the exception of NO3-N, belowground nutrient concentrations in secondary forests ranged between concentrations in mature forests and clearings. Vegetation type-specific differences decreased with increasing soil depths in the soil solution. Overall, the opening of the forest led to a higher spatial and seasonal variation of nutrient concentrations in the seepage water. These results suggest differences in both mineralization rates and in nutrient budgeting at different regeneration stages. Since nutrient availability was highest at the clearings and no compaction of the soil was observed, deterioration of soil properties did not seem to be the main reason for the impeded regeneration on the clearings. (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.