Leaf-fall in a tropical rain forest.

Published online
22 May 1971
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
Journal of Applied Ecology

Cornforth, I. S.

Publication language
Trinidad and Tobago


In Mora excelsa rain forests of Trinidad, leaf fall was heavy, from August to October and from February to April. For a single year the leaf fall was about 7000 kg/ha, which contained 60 kg N, 3 kg P, 11 kg K, 65 kg Ca and 15 kg Mg. Although representing only a small part of the nutrient reserves in the litter and surface soil, the nutrients supplied by the rapid decomposition of fallen leaves (0.45% per day) are thought to play an important part in subsequent tree growth as the feeding roots of Mora are restricted to the litter layer and the surface 5-8 cm of soil.

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