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Litter decomposition and nutrient release in a bamboo plantation

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Decomposition and nutrient release patterns of bamboo litter were studied in a bamboo plantation. Litter decay rates were assessed using the litterbag technique. The monthly decomposition rate (K) ranged from 0.03 (June, September, October) to 0.08 (November) for leaves, 0.02 (June) to 0.09 (November) for branches and 0.01 (May, June) to 0.06 (November) for culms. Rainfall, temperature and soil moisture content were significantly correlated with the decomposition rates of litter components. Resident times (years) of litter components, calculated by dividing the litter standing crop by annual litter fall, were ranked as follows: culms (0.85) > leaves (0.48) > branches (0.24). The turnover coefficients (per year) were: branches (4.11) > leaves (2.07) > culms (1.17). Nutrient element residence times in the litter standing crops were ranked: Ca (1.0) > P (0.92) > Mg (0.64) > N (0.36) > K (0.31). The results from this study indicate that litter decomposition and nutrient element losses in bamboo plantations are slower than typical lowland rainforests and more similar to tropical semi-deciduous forests.


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