Effects of water and nutrient availability on fine root growth in eastern Amazonian forest regrowth, Brazil


Author for correspondence:
Tâmara Thaiz Santana Lima
Tel: +55 91 32105236
Email: thaiz.lima@gmail.com


  • Fine root dynamics is widely recognized as an important biogeochemical process, but there are few data on fine root growth and its response to soil resource availability, especially for tropical forests.
  • We evaluated the response of fine root dynamics to altered availability of soil water and nutrients in a 20-yr-old forest regrowth in eastern Amazonia. In one experiment the dry season reduction in soil moisture was alleviated by irrigation. In the other experiment, nutrient supply was reduced by litter removal. We used the ingrowth core technique to measure fine root mass growth, length growth, mortality and specific root length.
  • Dry-season irrigation had no significant effect on mass and length of live and dead roots, whereas litter removal reduced mass and length of live roots. For both irrigation and litter removal experiments, root growth was significantly greater in the dry season than in the wet season.
  • Increased root growth was associated with decreased soil water availability. However, root growth did not increase in response to nutrient reduction in litter removal plots. Overall, our results suggest that belowground allocation may differ according to the type of soil resource limitation.