Litter inputs and phosphatase activity affect the temporal variability of organic phosphorus in a tropical forest soil in the Central Amazon

Schaap, K.J., Fuchslueger, L., Hoosbeek, M.R., Hofhansl, F. ORCID:, Martins, N.P., Valverde-Barrantes, O.J., Hartley, I.P., Lugli, L.F., et al. (2021). Litter inputs and phosphatase activity affect the temporal variability of organic phosphorus in a tropical forest soil in the Central Amazon. Plant and Soil 10.1007/s11104-021-05146-x.

Schaap2021_Article_LitterInputsAndPhosphataseActi.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (626kB) | Preview


The tropical phosphorus cycle and its relation to soil phosphorus (P) availability are a major uncertainty in projections of forest productivity. In highly weathered soils with low P concentrations, plant and microbial communities depend on abiotic and biotic processes to acquire P. We explored the seasonality and relative importance of drivers controlling the fluctuation of common P pools via processes such as litter production and decomposition, and soil phosphatase activity.

We analyzed intra-annual variation of tropical soil phosphorus pools using a modified Hedley sequential fractionation scheme. In addition, we measured litterfall, the mobilization of P from litter and soil extracellular phosphatase enzyme activity and tested their relation to fluctuations in P- fractions.

Our results showed clear patterns of seasonal variability of soil P fractions during the year. We found that modeled P released during litter decomposition was positively related to change in organic P fractions, while net change in organic P fractions was negatively related to phosphatase activities in the top 5 cm.

We conclude that input of P by litter decomposition and potential soil extracellular phosphatase activity are the two main factors related to seasonal soil P fluctuations, and therefore the P economy in P impoverished soils. Organic soil P followed a clear seasonal pattern, indicating tight cycling of the nutrient, while reinforcing the importance of studying soil P as an integrated dynamic system in a tropical forest context.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR)
Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR) > Agriculture, Forestry, and Ecosystem Services (AFE)
Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR) > Biodiversity, Ecology, and Conservation (BEC)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 27 Oct 2021 07:14
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2021 07:14

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313