Decomposition and Nutrient Release of Tree Legumes in an Agroforest System

Larissa Brandao Portela, Anagila Janenis Cardoso Silva, Gustavo André de Araújo Santos, Joab Luhan Ferreira Pedrosa, Conceição de Maria Batista de Oliveira, Alana das Chagas Ferreira Aguiar


The research compared biomass production and nutrient release in an alley cropping system in two collection methods, the litterbag method and the direct collection method (Morley, Bennett, & Clark, 1964). The system was implemented in 2015 at 2017, at the Maranhão Federal University, Maranhão, Brazil. The experiment was a randomized block design with four treatments, consisting of leucaena+sombreiro (Leucaena leucocephala and Clitoria fairchildiana), leucena+acacia (Leucaena leucocephala and Acacia mangium), gliricidia+sombreiro (Gliricidia sepium and Clitoria fairchildiana) and gliricidia+acacia (Gliricidia sepium and Acacia mangium). In order to determine the remaining dry matter, nutrient release (N, P, K, Ca, Mg and Mn), the decomposition constants and the half-lives times of plant residues, 100 g of fresh material were conditioned in litterbags (50 g of each species), arranged on the soil surface. The second method was done by randomly throwing a collector on each plot in the same dimensions of the litterbags (0.40 x 0.40 m) and collecting the litter. For the two methods samples were collected at 0, 30, 60, 90 and 120 days after the start of the experiment. The litterbags method showed a higher C/N ratio at day 30 up to 120 days, which implies that this method is providing a different environment from the litter, where it would be overestimating the C/N ratio and retarding the decomposition. The G+S and G+A combinations were more rapidly decomposed than the combinations of L+S and L+A. The following order of release was established for the litterbags method: P > N > K > Ca > Mn > Mg, and for the method of collecting the litter: N > P > Ca > Mg > K > Mn.

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Journal of Agricultural Science   ISSN 1916-9752 (Print)   ISSN 1916-9760 (Online)  E-mail:

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