Soil phosphorus fractionation during forest development on landslides scars in the Luquillo Mountains, Puerto Rico

TitleSoil phosphorus fractionation during forest development on landslides scars in the Luquillo Mountains, Puerto Rico
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsFrizano, J, Johnson, AH, Vann, DR, Scantena, FN
Accession NumberLUQ.177
Keywordstropical soils

Mineral soils from a chronosequence of landslide scars ranging in age from 1 to more than 55 years in a subtropical montane rain forest of eastern Puerto Rico were used to determine the rate at which labile P capital recovers during primary succession. Nine organic and inorganic soil P fractions were measured using the Hedley sequential extraction procedure. Deep soil cores (9 m) from a nearby site were also analyzed to determine the distribution of P fractions below the solum. Litterfall P was measured for two years in the landslide scars to estimate allochthonous litter P inputs, and published precipitation data were used to estimate annual atmospheric inputs of P to the recovering forests. In the upper solum (0–10 cm), organic matter increased with landslide age, as did resin-Pi, labile P (defined here as resin-Pi + HCO3–Pi + HCO3–Po) and total organic P. Occluded P decreased with increasing landslide age. No significant changes in P concentrations or pools were observed in 10 to 35 or in 35 to 60 cm depth intervals across the chronosequence. Labile soil P increased to approximately two-thirds of the pre-disturbance levels in the oldest landslide scar (>55 yr). Thus, plants, their associated microflora/fauna, and P inputs from off-site substantially altered the distribution of soil P fractions during forest recovery. Across the chronosequence, the increase in labile P accumulated in soil and biomass appeared to be greater than the estimated allochthonous inputs from litter and precipitation, indicating that as the forest developed, some occluded P may have been released for use by soil biota. Resin-Pi and labile P were correlated with soil organic matter content, suggesting, as in other highly weathered soils, organic matter accumulation and turnover are important in maintaining labile P pools. Primary mineral P (apatite) was scarce, even in deep soil cores.