Mineral nutrient status of coastal hill dipterocarp forest and adinandra belukar in Singapore: analysis of soil, leaves and litter

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The soil of remnant primary rainforest on granite in Singapore is very acidic (pH mostly 3.5-4.2 at 0-10 cm) and has unusually low total concentration of nitrogen and phosphorus, but the mean concentrations of N and P in the living leaves and freshly fallen leaves of the more shade-tolerant species are within the ranges found for other lowland forests on infertile oxisols and ultisols. The concentration of Ca in freshly fallen leaves is very low. The soil under secondary forest (belukar) on sandstone dominated by Adinandra dumosa (Theaceae) was degraded during use for agriculture. It has the same pH range but even lower values of total N and P. The mean concentrations of N, P, K, Ca and Mg in the living leaves are slightly higher than in leaves of the more shade-tolerant trees of primary forest, but lower than in the leaves of the species which require canopy gaps for establishment or early onward growth. The few species sampled in both primary forest and belukar show no consistent trend in foliar concentrations. The degraded soil has selected species with inherently lower foliar concentrations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-577
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Tropical Ecology
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1994


  • lowland rain-forest
  • leaves
  • litter
  • Malesia
  • nutrients
  • secondary forest
  • soil

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