Academic Commons

Articles

Fertilizer Type and Species Composition Affect Leachate Nutrient Concentrations in Coffee Agroecosystems

Tully, Katherine L.; Wood, Stephen Andrew; Lawrence, Deborah

Intensification of coffee (Coffea arabica) production is associated with increases in inorganic fertilizer application and decreases in species diversity. Both the use of organic fertilizers and the incorporation of trees on farms can, in theory, reduce nutrient loss in comparison with intensified practices. To test this, we measured nutrient concentrations in leachate at 15 and 100 cm depths on working farms. We examined (1) organically managed coffee agroforests (38 kg N ha−1 year−1; n = 4), (2) conventionally managed coffee agroforests (96 kg N ha−1 year−1; n = 4), and (3) one conventionally managed monoculture coffee farm in Costa Rica (300 kg N ha−1 year−1). Concentrations of nitrate (NO3 −-N) and phosphate (PO4 3−-P) were higher in the monoculture compared to agroforests at both depths. Nitrate concentrations were higher in conventional than organic agroforests at 15 cm only. Soil solutions collected under nitrogen (N)-fixing Erythrina poeppigiana had elevated NO3 −-N concentrations at 15 cm compared to Musa acuminata (banana) or Coffea. Total soil N and carbon (C) were also higher under Erythrina. This research shows that both fertilizer type and species affect concentrations of N and P in leachate in coffee agroecosystems.

Geographic Areas

Files

Also Published In

Title
Agroforestry Systems
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10457-013-9622-0

More About This Work

Academic Units
Earth Institute
Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Published Here
January 22, 2014
Academic Commons provides global access to research and scholarship produced at Columbia University, Barnard College, Teachers College, Union Theological Seminary and Jewish Theological Seminary. Academic Commons is managed by the Columbia University Libraries.