Research Article Open Access

Comparison of Carbon and Selected Macronutrients in Forest-Floor Litter of Rehabilitated and Secondary Forests

Melvin Ku Kin Kin1, Japar Sidik Bujang2, Osumanu Haruna Ahmed3, Nik Muhamad Ab. Majid4, Roland Kueh Jui Heng1 and Silvester Jemat1
  • 1 Department of Forestry Science, Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences, Malaysia
  • 2 Department of Animal Science and Fishery, Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences, Malaysia
  • 3 Department of Crop Science, Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences, University Putra Malaysia Bintulu Sarawak Campus, 97008 Bintulu, Sarawak, Malaysia
  • 4 Department of Forest Management, Faculty of Forestry, University Putra Malaysia, 43400 Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia


Problem statement: Forest rehabilitation with human assistance by species selection and management shortens the time needed to rehabilitate degraded land as compared to natural succession. Empirical data on litter nutrient contents of tropical rain forests in Southeast Asia have been established, however it is limited to rehabilitated degraded lands. The objective of this study was to determine contents of carbon and selected macronutrients of nutrients present in the litter layer of different age stands and an adjacent secondary forest at Bintulu, Sarawak, Malaysia. Approach: Forest litter was sampled in 1 m2 quadrates of 5 points in research plots of 20×20 m by carefully brushing off the standing litter layer on the forest floor followed by oven-drying and grinding before analysis using standard procedures for pH, carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium and magnesium. Results: Results showed that litter layer was acidic, with pH ranging from 4.4-5.1 in water and 3.7-4.4 in 1 M KCl. Carbon constituted the highest amount of element in litter, ranging from 285.6-363.9 g kg-1 followed by N with a range of 4.4-10.5 g kg-1, followed by P, ranging from 0.05-0.20 g kg-1. Content of K was in a range of 0.91-3.1 g kg-1, while Ca and Mg contents were 0.3-7.9 and 0.39-1.64 g kg-1 respectively. Litter layer mass and content of nutrients increased with stand age. Plots 1993, SF, 1999 and 1991 were clustered together while Plots 2002, 1996, 2005 and 2008 were in the other cluster. Stocks of nutrients in the plots were found to be in the order of C>N>Ca>K>Mg>P. Conclusion: The results are consistent with other secondary and primary forests in the tropics, suggesting that the project is successful in rehabilitating degraded forests in terms of restoring nutrient availability in forest litter.

American Journal of Applied Sciences
Volume 8 No. 10, 2011, 967-972


Submitted On: 10 February 2011 Published On: 20 August 2011

How to Cite: Kin, M. K. K., Bujang, J. S., Ahmed, O. H., Majid, N. M. A., Heng, R. K. J. & Jemat, S. (2011). Comparison of Carbon and Selected Macronutrients in Forest-Floor Litter of Rehabilitated and Secondary Forests. American Journal of Applied Sciences, 8(10), 967-972.

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  • Litter quality
  • macronutrients
  • secondary forest
  • rehabilitated forest