Annual amounts of litterfall and nitrogen input by litterfall were measured in a subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest to examine the contribution of a liana species, Mucuna macrocarpa Wall., to the spatial heterogeneity of litterfall production and nitrogen input. The total litterfall in the study plot was 7.1 t ha-1year-1. The amount of litterfall varied with topography and was greatest at the valley bottom and decreased toward the ridges. Macuna macrocarpa litterfall was absent on the ridges although it accounted for the largest percentage, 32%, of total leaf litter production in the valley. Nitrogen input by litterfall was 69 kg ha-1 year -1 in the plot. Nitrogen input by litterfall was also largest at the valley bottom and decreased toward the ridges. Leaf litter of M. macrocarpa had approximately twice the nitrogen concentration of litterfall of other species. Macuna macrocarpa accounted for 42% of nitrogen input by leaf litter in the valley. The abundance and the high nitrogen concentration of M. macrocarpa intensified differences in the amount of litterfall and nitrogen input by litterfall between valleys and ridges. It was concluded that a liana species, M. macrocarpa, can contribute to the spatial heterogeneity of litterfall and may subsequently affect nutrient cycling in a subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest on Okinawa Island.
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