Research article

Carbon and nitrogen stocks in dead wood of tropical lowland forests as dependent on wood decay stages and land-use intensity

Selis Meriem , Soekisman Tjitrosoedirjo, Martyna Malgorzata Kotowska, Dietrich Hertel, Triadiati Triadiati

Selis Meriem
Graduate Program in Plant Biology, Graduate School, Bogor Agricultural University, Bogor 16680, Indonesia. Email: selismeriem@gmail.com
Soekisman Tjitrosoedirjo
Department of Biology, Faculty of Mathematic and Natural Sciences, Bogor Agricultural University, Bogor, 16680, Indonesia
Martyna Malgorzata Kotowska
Albrecht von Haller Institute for Plant Sciences, Plant Ecology and Ecosystems Research, University of Göettingen, Untere Karspü, 37073 Goettingen, Germany
Dietrich Hertel
Albrecht von Haller Institute for Plant Sciences, Plant Ecology and Ecosystems Research, University of Göettingen, Untere Karspü, 37073 Goettingen, Germany
Triadiati Triadiati
Department of Biology Faculty of Mathematic and Natural Sciences, Bogor Agricultural University, Bogor, 16680, Indonesia

Online First: July 28, 2016
Meriem, S., Tjitrosoedirjo, S., Kotowska, M., Hertel, D., Triadiati, T. 2016. Carbon and nitrogen stocks in dead wood of tropical lowland forests as dependent on wood decay stages and land-use intensity. Annals of Forest Research DOI:10.15287/afr.2016.524


Rapid transformation of natural forests into other land-use systems in the lowlands of Sumatra, Indonesia, strongly reduces total aboveground biomass and affects nutrient cycling. However, the consequences of this conversion for C and N stocks of dead wood remains poorly understood particularly in natural forests and jungle rubber. This study examined the differences in dead wood abundance, and C, N and lignin concentrations of three decay stages of dead wood as well as the stocks of these chemical components stored in dead wood. Standing and fallen dead wood was determined as coarse woody debris with diameter ≥ 10 cm and classified into three decay stages of wood. Mass of dead wood was estimated using allometric equation. Total C and N stocks in dead wood in the natural forests (4.5 t C ha-1, 0.05 t N ha-1, respectively) were three times higher than those in the jungle rubber (1.5 t C ha-1, 0.02 t N ha-1, respectively). The stocks of C and N at early and advanced wood decay stages in the natural forests were also higher than those in the jungle rubber. The decay stages showed pronounced differences in concentrations of chemical components. With advancing stage of wood decay, N concentration increased and C/N ratio decreased, while concentrations of C and lignin were variable. The distribution of dead wood mass and stocks of C, and lignin were found to be higher in the early decay than those in the advanced decay stage. Higher input of dead wood in natural forests indicated a higher importance of dead wood decay in natural forests than in jungle rubber systems. Thus, replacing natural forests with jungle rubber strongly reduces total C and N stocks which might have a marked negative effect on the ecosystems' nutrient turnover and cyle.

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