Soil phosphorus responses to chronic nutrient fertilisation and seasonal drought in a humid lowland forest, Panama

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We used the Hedley sequential fractionation scheme to assess phosphorus (P) chemistry of a strongly weathered soil from a humid lowland forest in Panama. Our analyses were part of a factorial experiment of nitrogen, P, and potassium addition, with nutrients added annually, i.e. a chronic input. The aim was to examine changes in soil P chemistry with 7 years of nutrient addition for soils collected in the wet season and the dry season. The majority of P occurred in fractions extracted by NaOH (24% of the total soil P) and hot concentrated HCl (58% of the total). Organic P (Po) was ∼54% of extractable P. Labile P, defined as Po plus inorganic P (Pi) extracted by NaHCO 3, was largely Po (84% of the NaHCO3- extractable P). Chronic P addition increased NaHCO3-extractable Po several-fold and NaOH-extractable Pi two-fold. Seasonal variation occurred for labile P and NaOH-extractable P, whereas occluded P did not vary throughout the study period. Extractable P was ∼15% higher in surface than subsurface soil. We added 350kgPha-1 during the 7-year period and recovered ∼55% by sequential extraction. According to biogeochemical theory, added P should show up in fractions with the shortest residence times, e.g. labile P. Our finding that added P accumulated in fractions with presumably long residence times, i.e. extracted by NaOH (bound) and hot concentrated HCl (occluded), suggests that greater attention be paid to the short-term dynamics of bound and occluded P in strongly weathered tropical forest soils. © 2013 CSIRO.

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Soil Research

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