Nutrient inputs from trees via throughfall, stemflow and litterfall in an intercropping system

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Zhang, Ping

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University of Guelph


The purpose of this study was to determine the amount of nutrient input from tree rows to adjacent crops in an agroforestry intercropping system and to evaluate the effects of those inputs on crop growth. Concentrations of N, P, K, Ca, and Mg were measured in open rainfall and in throughfall, stemflow and litterfall from various tree species. Average annual nutrient inputs (kg·ha-1) for total-N, N03-N, NH4-N, P, K, Ca and Mg were 7.49, 1.04, 1.11, 2.44, 8.53, 19.09 and 4.76, respectively. Litterfall from the plantation canopy was the major contributor of N (90.5% of all nitrogen inputs), whereas throughfall contributed the most K (62.7% of all potassium inputs) and stemflow accounted for a very small proportion of the nutrients but contributed the most P (50.3% of all phosphorus inputs). Wheat growth response showed that the average wheat yield within 1 m of the tree row was 1.6 times the yield at a distance of 6m from the tree row.



nutrient input, tree rows, crops, agroforestry, intercropping system, crop growth