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Title: Litterfall and associated nutrient pools extend beyond the canopy of scattered eucalypt trees in temperate pastures
Contributor(s): Barnes, Phoebe (author); Wilson, Brian (author)orcid ; Reid, Nick (author)orcid ; Koen, Terry B (author); Lockwood, Peter (author); Lamb, David (author)
Publication Date: 2011
DOI: 10.1007/s11104-011-0786-y
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Abstract: Scattered paddock trees are a keystone feature of temperate grazing landscapes of Australia. However, our understanding of their influence on their immediate environment, and specifically the spatial distribution and characteristics of litter, is still limited. Here, we quantified the spatial pattern of litter around 4 Eucalyptus species ('Eucalyptus melliodora' A. Cunn. Ex Schauer, 'E. viminalis' Labill., 'E. blakelyi' Maiden and 'E. michaeliana' Blakely) in grazing landscapes on the Northern Tablelands of NSW, Australia. We examined the effect of species and soil parent material (basalt, granite and meta-sediments) on litter chemistry and chemical pools. Between 54-145 kg of litter was found around individual trees and litter density consistently declined with distance from the tree (330 g.m⁻² in the inner canopy to 4 g.m⁻² in the open paddock). However, an equivalent quantity of litter was found beneath and beyond the canopy indicating that a large quantity of the litter and nutrients fell beyond the edge of the canopy. Overall, leaf litter accounted for 23 to 34% of litterfall and had larger nutrient concentrations and pools than bark or stick litter. Most litter nutrients concentrations were independent of tree species or parent material but our results suggest that P, K and S were removed in foliage prior to abscission whilst Ca and Fe concentrations increased. The spatial patterns of litter distribution around scattered trees coincide with spatial patterns in soil properties that are frequently observed in these environments, and provide strong evidence of a significant link between these factors. Our results suggest that the removal of scattered trees from pastoral landscapes in this region of Australia will result in the loss of a significant litter input to the soil surface and will diminish this potentially important source of soil nutrients.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Plant and Soil, 345(1-2), p. 339-352
Publisher: Springer Netherlands
Place of Publication: The Netherlands
ISSN: 1573-5036
Field of Research (FOR): 070501 Agroforestry
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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