Soil Nitrogen Dynamics in a Mixed-Species Tree Plantation and a Lowland Secondary Forest

Angelica P. Baldos, Randy Alfabete Villarin

Abstract


Reforestation has been recognized as one of the strategies in climate change mitigation not only for its potential for carbon sequestration but also in restoring ecosystem functions and services. This study aimed to compare the rates of net nitrogen (N) mineralization and net nitrification in a mixed-species tree plantation and that of a secondary lowland forest. It also aimed to assess the potential of reforestation using the mixed-species strategy in restoring a key ecosystem function, particularly soil N cycling. The study was conducted within the Visayas State University campus in Baybay City, Leyte in two land uses, a lowland secondary forest and a mixed-species tree plantation established using the Rainforestation approach. No significant differences were found in extractable mineral N (NH4+ and NO3-) and net rates of N mineralization and nitrification between the mixed-species tree plantation and lowland secondary forest implying that N availability is similar for both the mixed-species tree plantation and the lowland secondary forest. Similar net rates of N mineralization and net nitrification for both sites suggest that they have the same rate of converting N to mineralized form which indicates that this mixed-species reforestation strategy may have potential to restore this ecosystem function, the soil N cycle. Further investigations are needed to evaluate the effects of species mixture and planting design on the soil N cycle as well as conducting similar studies on other sites under different conditions.

Keywords


soil nitrogen dynamics, net rate of nitrogen mineralization, net nitrification, mixed-species tree plantation, lowland tropical secondary forest

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