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Influence of forage harvesting regimes on dynamics of biological dinitrogen fixation of a tropical woody legume

Abstract : Effects of three forage harvesting regimes-total removal of foliage and branches once (T-12) or twice a year (T-6) and 50% removal every 2 months (P-2)-on growth and biological dinitrogen fixation of Gliricidia sepium (Jacq.) Walp were studied under subhumid tropical conditions in Guadeloupe, French Antilles. Gliricidia sepium was grown in association with the perennial C-4 grass Dichantium aristatum (Poir) C.E. Hubbard in a two-storied fodder production system. The medium-term effects of pruning on N-2 fixation were assessed by the N-15 natural abundance method. Gmelina arborea Roxb. was used as the non-fixing reference. The trees in the T-12 regime followed the natural phenological cycle, and flowering and podfilling at the beginning of the dry season reduced both foliage and nodule biomass. The T-6 regime impeded flowering, and only a few flowers, on older branches, were produced in the P-2 regime. In trees in the T-12, T-6, and P-2 regimes, fixed N comprised 54-87, 54-92, and 60-87%, respectively, of the total N in aboveground biomass, depending on sampling date. Total annual accumulation of N in harvestable aboveground biomass was highest in trees in the T-6 regime at 313 kg ha(-1), of which 204 kg ha(-1) of N was fixed from the atmosphere. In all treatments, about 70% of the N exported per year from the plot in the fodder harvest came from N-2 fixation. Thus, N-2 fixation makes an important contribution to the N economy of the G. sepium-D. aristatum forage production system, and greatly reduces the need for fertilizer application.
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Submitted on : Monday, June 1, 2020 - 8:54:19 AM
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Pekka Nygren, Pablo Cruz, Anne-Marie Domenach, Victor Vaillant, Jorge Sierra. Influence of forage harvesting regimes on dynamics of biological dinitrogen fixation of a tropical woody legume. Tree Physiology, Oxford University Press (OUP): Policy B - Oxford Open Option B, 2000, 20 (1), pp.41-48. ⟨10.1093/treephys/20.1.41⟩. ⟨hal-02695573⟩

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