Descomposición y calidad físico-química foliar de 24 especies dominantes de los pastizales de altura de las sierras de Córdoba, Argentina

María Poca, Natalia Pérez Harguindeguy, María V. Vaieretti, Ana M. Cingolani

Resumen


Tanto la calidad química de la broza como las características físicas de las hojas verdes han sido indicadas como determinantes de la descomposición de la broza. El objetivo de este trabajo fue analizar la relación entre la descomposición, la calidad química de la broza y la calidad física de las hojas verdes de 24 especies dominantes de pastizales mésicos y húmedos de las sierras altas de Córdoba (Argentina). Además, comparamos el patrón de asociación entre esas características con el descripto para las especies de las sierras bajas de la misma región. Medimos la descomposición de la broza mediante la incubación en jardín común en dos periodos (70 y 196 días). Como indicadores de la calidad química de la broza medimos el contenido de componentes lábiles (nitrógeno) y el de componentes recalcitrantes (celulosa, hemicelulosa y lignina). A partir de estos indicadores calculamos la proporción holocelulosa/fibras y las relaciones lignina:nitrógeno, holocelulosa:nitrógeno y fibras:nitrógeno. Como indicador de calidad física de las hojas verdes medimos el área foliar específica. La descomposición aumentó a medida que disminuyó la relación fibras:nitrógeno para ambos periodos. Al contrario de lo encontrado en otros trabajos, el contenido de lignina y el área foliar específica no se correlacionaron significativamente con la descomposición. En cambio, las relaciones entre descomposición y calidad resultaron similares a las documentadas para las especies dominantes de las sierras bajas de Córdoba. Esta similitud, a pesar de las diferencias en composición de especies, tipos funcionales y regímenes climáticos, indica una consistencia del control químico en la descomposición.

 

ABSTRACT

Litters’ chemical and green leaves’ physical quality have been indicated as determinants of litter decomposition. The objective of this work was to analyze the relationship between litter decomposition and chemical quality and green leaves physical quality of 24 dominant species of mesic and humid highland grasslands, Córdoba, Argentina. In addition, we compared the pattern of association between these variables with that described for the lowland mountains of the same region. We measured litter decomposition through a common garden experiment with two retrieval dates (70 and 196 days). We measured labile compounds (nitrogen) and recalcitrant compounds (cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin) as litter chemical quality indicators. Besides, we calculated from these indicators the holocellulose/fiber proportion and the lignin:nitrogen, holocellulose:nitrogen and fiber:nitrogen ratios. We measured the specific leaf area as a physical quality indicator of the green leaves. The decomposition increased mainly while the fiber:nitrogen ratio decreased for both retrieval dates. Contrary to other works, the lignin content and the specific leaf area were not significantly associated to the decomposition. The relationships that we found in this work between decomposition and quality parameters are similar to the ones described by Vaieretti et al. (2005) for the species of the lowland mountains of Córdoba. This similitude, in spite of the differences in species composition, functional types and environmental variables, indicate a consistent chemical control over decomposition.

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