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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 71 No. 4, p. 1389-1397
    Received: Feb 15, 2006

    * Corresponding author(s): arussell@iastate.edu
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Tree Species Effects on Soil Properties in Experimental Plantations in Tropical Moist Forest

  1. A. E. Russell *a,
  2. J. W. Raichb,
  3. O. J. Valverde-Barrantesb and
  4. R. F. Fisherc
  1. a Dep. of Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Iowa State Univ., Ames, IA 50011
    b Dep. of Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology, Iowa State Univ., Ames, IA 50011
    c Texas A&M Univ., College Station, TX 77843


We resampled one of the earliest replicated experimental sites used to investigate the impacts of native tropical tree species on soil properties, to examine longer term effects to 1-m depth. The mono-dominant stands, established in abandoned pasture in 1988 at La Selva Biological Station, Costa Rica, contained six species, including one exotic, Pinus patula ssp. tecunumanii (Eguiluz & J.P. Perry) Styles, and five native species: Pentaclethra macroloba (Willd.) Ktze (N2-fixing); Hyeronima alchorneoides Allemao; Virola koschnyi Warb.; Vochysia ferruginea Mart.; and Vochysia guatemalensis J.D. Smith. Soil organic carbon (SOC) differed significantly among species in the surface (0–15-cm) layer, ranging from 44.5 to 55.1 g kg−1, compared with 46.6 and 50.3 g kg−1 in abandoned pasture and mature forest, respectively. The change in surface SOC over 15 yr ranged from −0.03 to 0.66 Mg C ha−1 yr−1 The species differed in the quantity and chemical composition of their detrital production. Soil organic C was significantly correlated with fine-root growth, but not with aboveground detrital inputs. Soil organic C increased with potential C mineralization on a grams of C basis, indicating that species influenced both the quality and quantity of SOC. Contrary to expectations, SOC declined with increasing fine-root lignin concentrations, indicating that lignin-derived C did not dominate refractory SOC pools. We hypothesize that differences among species in the capacity to increase SOC stocks involved fine-root traits that promoted soil microbial turnover and, thus, greater production of recalcitrant, microbial-derived C fractions.

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