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Changes in N and C concentrations, soil acidity and P availability in tropical mixed acacia and eucalypt plantations on a nutrient-poor sandy soil

Koutika L.S., Epron D., Bouillet J.P., Mareschal L.. 2014. Plant and Soil, 379 (1-2) : p. 205-216.

DOI: 10.1007/s11104-014-2047-3

Background and aims The introduction of Acacia mangium in Eucalyptus urophylla x grandis stands improves wood production on poor sandy soils of coastal plains of the Congo. We assessed the impact of A. mangium plantations in pure stands and in mixture with eucalypt trees on the physico-chemical properties of the soil after one rotation. Methods Bulk densities, N, C, available P and pH were determined on soil sampled in the pure acacia (100A), pure eucalypt (100E) and mixed-species (50A:50E) stands. N and P were determined in aboveground litters and in leaves, bark and wood of trees. Results N and C concentrations were higher in 50A:50E than in 100A and 100E in the top soil layer. The pH was lower in 100A and higher in 100E than in 50A:50E. The available P was lower in 50A:50E than in 100A and 100E. Leaf N was lower in 50A:50E than in 100A for acacia, and higher than in 100E for eucalypt. Leaf P was similar for acacia but higher for eucalypt in 50A:50E than in 100E. In contrast to P, the amount of N in aboveground litterfall increased with the proportion of acacia in the stand. Conclusions The introduction of acacia trees in eucalypt plantations increased C and N contents of the soil but decreased the available P content in the mixed-species stand. This may be related to a higher uptake of P needed to maintain the N:P stoichiometry in eucalypt leaves.

Mots-clés : eucalyptus grandis; acacia mangium; culture en mélange; plantations; propriété physicochimique du sol; matière organique du sol; fertilité du sol; teneur en azote; ph du sol; phosphate; zone tropicale; sol sableux; congo

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