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Rapid root assimilation of added phosphorus in a lowland tropical rainforest of French Guiana

Van Langenhove, L., I. A. Janssens, Verryckt, Lore L. Brechet, I. P. Hartley, C. Stahl, E. Courtois, I. Urbina, O. Grau, J. Sardans, G. Peguero, A. Gargallo-Garriga, J. Peñuelas, and S. Vicca. 2020.


Tree growth on weathered soils in lowland tropical forests is limited by low phosphorous (P) availability. However, nutrient manupulation experiments do not always increase the P content in these trees, which raises the question whether trees are taking up added P. In French Guianese lowland rainforest, we measured changes in nitrogen (N) and P availability before and up to two months after N and P fertilizer addition, in soils with intact root systems and in soils where roots and mycorrhizal fungi were excluded by root exclusion cylinders. When the root system was excluded, P addition increased P availability to a much greater extent and for a longer time than in soils with an intact root system. Soil N dynamics were unaffected by root presence/absence. These results indicate rapid P uptake, but not N uptake, by tree roots, suggesting a very effective P acquisition process in these lowland rainforests.

Key Words

Tropical forest Phosphorus Nitrogen Fertilization Root system Plant root simulator probes