Implementation of Silvopastoral Systems under Nutrient Cycling in Secondary Vegetation in the Amazon

  •  Perlon Santos    
  •  Antonio Santos    
  •  Durval Neves Neto    
  •  Wallace Oliveira    
  •  Luciano Sousa    
  •  Leonardo Bernardes Oliveira    


Silvopastoral systems can be implemented in idle secondary forests; however, they may affect nutrient cycling in these ecosystems. This farming practice using babassu palms (Attalea speciosa Mart.) and Mombasa grass (Panicum maximum Jacq.) has been little studied, and the nutrient cycling occurred during this practice is yet unknown. The goal of this paper was to detect the leaf litter accumulation, decomposition, and nutrient release occurring in silvopastoral systems in a babassu secondary forest, and compared the results with those of a native forest and of a pasture grown under full sunlight. The data relating to deposition, chemical composition, decomposition, and macronutrient release of leaf litter and pasture litter were evaluated by multivariate analyses. The results showed that forest thinning reduced leaf litter deposition and overall nutrient cycling but had no effect on decomposition rates. Conversely, the presence of grass in the understory promoted increased overall nutrient cycling rates. The cycling in integrated systems occurs more similar to that of forests than that of monocultures. The greater the thinning intensity the more similar the cycling will be relative to that occurring in pastures and in monocultures. The nutrients Ca, Mg, and N were the most affected by thinning. Moreover, the presence of grass in integrated systems provided an increased N and Mg cycling, whereas the thinning reduced Ca cycling. K showed the highest release and return ratio to the soil. Lastly, leaf litter from pasture areas showed higher contents of nutrients, decomposition rates, as well as an enhanced nutrient cycling capacity.

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