Decomposition and nutrient release in leaves of Atlantic Rainforest tree species used in agroforestry systems

Duarte, E.M.G.; Cardoso, I.M.; Stijnen, T.; Mendonça, M.A.F.C.; Coelho, M.S.; Cantarutti, R.B.; Kuyper, T.W.; Villani, E.M.A.; Mendonça, E.S.


Aiming to support the use of native species from the Atlantic Rainforest in local agroforestry systems, we analysed chemical and biochemical components related to leaf decomposition of Inga subnuda, Senna macranthera, Erythrina verna, Luehea grandiflora, Zeyheria tuberculosa, Aegiphila sellowiana, and Persea americana. These tree species are native (except for P. americana) and commonly used in agroforestry systems in the Atlantic Rainforest. For the three first species (Fabaceae), we also analysed the remaining dry matter and released nutrients from leaves, using litter bags, and biological nitrogen fixation, using Bidens pilosa and Brachiariaplantaginea as references of non-N2-fixing plants. Leaves from I. subnuda, L. grandiflora, and P. americana had a lower decomposition rate than the other species, exhibiting negative correlations with lignin/N and (lignin+polyphenol)/N ratios. The percentages of remaining dry matter after 1 year were 69 % (I. subnuda), 26 % (S. macranthera) and 16 % (E. verna). Higher nutrient release was found in decreasing order from residues of E. verna, S. macranthera, and I. subnuda. The percentages of nitrogen fixation were 22.6 % (E. verna), 20.6 % (I. subnuda) and 16.6 % (S. macranthera). Diversification of tree species in agroforestry systems allows for input of diversified organic material and can contribute to maintaining and improving soil functions resulting in improvements of soil quality.