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On Biomass and Trophic Structure of the Central Amazonian Rain Forest Ecosystem
E. J. Fittkau and H. Klinge
Vol. 5, No. 1 (Apr., 1973), pp. 2-14
Published by: Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2989676
Page Count: 13
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The importance of litter in the total energy flow dynamics of a central Amazonian rain forest near Manaus, Brazil, is discussed. The study area is located in the hinterland of Manaus between the Rio Negro and the Amazon. Its substrate is Tertiary sediment. The area receives 1771 mm rainfall per year, and the soil is classified as yellow latosol. The forest comprises 93,780 dicotyledonous trees and palms per hectare reaching 38.10 meters in height. Over 500 species of palms and dicotyledonous trees above 1.5 m. in height are identified for a 2000 sq. m. plot. The estimate for fresh living dicotyledonous tree and palm biomass is 939.5 metric tons per hectare consisting of 1.9% leaves, 49.7% stems, 21.3% branches and twigs, and 27.1% roots. Lianas, vascular epiphytes, and parasites are estimated to comprise 46.2 mt/hectare in the fresh state. At the soil surface there are 59 mt/hectare of fresh litter. Living animal biomass is about 200 kg/hectare of which half is soil fauna. The high proportion of soil fauna, the type of humus, the decomposition of litter, the apparent dependence of soil fauna on fungi, and the low nutrient content of litter are all factors which strongly support a consumer food chain based almost entirely on dead organic matter. The fungi play a decisive role in concentrating the otherwise limited nutrient resources.
Biotropica © 1973 Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation