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Agronomía Costarricense

Print version ISSN 0377-9424


MARTINEZ-ATENCIA, Judith et al. Potential return of nutrients by leaf litter in silvopastoral systems in Northern Colombia. Agron. Costarricense [online]. 2023, vol.47, n.1, pp.9-24. ISSN 0377-9424.

Introduction. Livestock systems in the Colombian Caribbean present soil degradation problems, which decreases productivity and quality of grasses. Silvopastoral systems are alternatives for sustainable soil management, since they contribute to nutrient cycling through litter of plant species that comprise them. Objective. To quantify the potential return of nutrients through leaf litter of plant species, in three thirteen-year silvopastoral systems and in a grass-only pasture, under dry forest conditions in Northern Colombia. Materials and methods. Annual amount of nutrients in foliar litter of different plant species was estimated in three silvopastoral systems and in a grass-only pasture, by the use of litter traps installed in the area of influence of each plant species. Results. Tree species in the silvopastoral systems generated a greater amount of foliar litter and nutrients than the grass-only pasture. Albizia saman presented the highest values of foliar litter production and nitrogen and phosphorus return within the silvopastoral systems, with respect to the other species. Conclusion. Litter production of the different species was independent of the silvopastoral system in which they were found, and the potential return of nutrients through foliar litter of tree species in silvopastoral systems was higher than that recorded in the grass-only pasture.

Keywords : Silvopastoral systems; nutrient cycling; leaf litter; tree species; grassland.

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