Ecosystem Processes of Ferralsols and Acrisols in Forest-Soil Systems of Cameroon



Tropical African forests are dominated by Ferralsols and leguminous species, while Southeast Asian forests are dominated by Acrisols/Alisols and Dipterocarpaceae. Hence, their ecological processes can differ, depending on soil acidity and nitrogen (N) availability. To provide an overview of the carbon (C) and N dynamics, as well as soil acidification processes on Ferralsols and Acrisols, in tropical African forests, we quantified soil respiration and element fluxes through different flow paths (as precipitation, throughfall, litterfall, litter leachate, and soil solutions) and analyzed proton budgets in two secondary forested sites in Cameroon. Our results demonstrate that at Mvam Village (MV; Acrisols), N was mostly taken up within the O horizon, which has a dense root mat, while half of the input N leached down to the mineral horizon at the Andom Village (AD; Ferralsols) site. Nitrification was the main proton-generating process in the canopy and the O horizon of AD, and it caused a large amount of cation leaching, which resulted in the accumulation of basic cations because of the high proton consumption rates in the A horizon. In contrast, because of the dense root mat at MV, the excess cation uptake by plants in the O horizon made the largest contribution to proton generation, which resulted in intensive acidification of the surface soil. Our results suggest that ecosystem processes differ depending on soil type (i.e., soil acidity). Thus, legumes growing on Ferralsols in tropical African forests have unique plant-soil interactions via active nitrification in the O horizon.


Mineral Soil Mineral Horizon Litter Leachate Proton Generation Holdridge Life Zone 
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© Springer Japan KK 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Global Environmental StudiesKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan

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