Leaf-fall in a tropical rain forest.

Published online
11 Nov 1970
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
Journal of Applied Ecology

Cornforth, I. S.

Publication language
Trinidad and Tobago


Measurements at monthly intervals showed that leaf-fall in the Mora excelsa rain forests of Trinidad was much greater in Aug. Oct. and in Feb. April than at other times of the year, the latter period coinciding with the dry season when evapotranspiration exceeded rainfall. Ca. 7000 kg. of leaves/ha. fell in a year; these contained 60, 3, 11, 65 and 15 kg. of N, P, K, Ca and Mg respectively. The rapid decomposition of fallen leaves (0.45% per day), although small in relation to total nutrient reserves in the forest litter and surface soil, is believed to be important in supplying nutrients for subsequent tree growth, since the feeding roots of M. excelsa are restricted to the litter layer and the surface 5-8 cm. of the soil.KEYWORDS: forest litter \ forest litter \ amounts seasonal variation \ forest litter \ nutrient content \ Mora excelsa \ Nutrients \ plant nutrition \ cycle \ Phenology \ development \ growth \ vegetation types \ rain forest tropical

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