Early studies of nutrient cycling in moist tropical forests described productive forests rich in nutrients (98, 1 1 4, 176) in which rates of primary production and the amounts of nutrients cycled clearly exceeded those in temperate zone forests. Reviews of global-scale patterns in biomass, production, and nutrient cycling reported these results as representative of tropical forests that harden irreversibly to "laterite" when cleared sands low in mineral nutrients Whittaker (130, 175). At the same time, tropical forest soils were described as acid, infertile clays (106), or as bleached quartz (88). This apparent paradox was crystallized by (174) in the statement "The tropical rain forest thus has a relatively rich nutrient economy perched on a nutrient-poor substrate" (p. the tropics 271). Reviews of more recent research on overall patterns of mineral cycling in litterfall nutrients patterns of nutrient cycling in tropical forests are diverse. It makes no more (78, 1 24), and of important components such as biomass (20, 21), (123, 164), and decomposition (5), clearly show that sense to describe a 'typical' tropical forest than a 'typical' temperate forest (33, 1 51). (a) Variations in mineral cycling nonetheless follow coherent, explicaÂ ble patterns in tropical forests. Our
Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics – Annual Reviews
Published: Nov 1, 1986
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