Decomposition rate and chemical composition of leafy mulch of some tree species in Ghana

Mon, 01/26/2015 - 17:08

The decomposition rates of fresh leafy mulches of seven species were studied. The dependence of the biochemical compounds of these mulches on their rate of decomposition was also investigated. The study was undertaken to determine the suitability of these native species for mulching farmlands whose fertility have been declining steadily. The study was conducted at the demonstration farm of the Faculty of Renewable atural Resources (FRR), Kwame krumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi. A split-plot experiment in completely randomized design was used with main-plot treatments as species leafy mulch with five replicates and sub-plot factor as time between October 1, 2010 and February 3, 2011. A sample of the leafy mulch of each species was sent to the FRR laboratory for chemical analyses. Three groups of species were identified based on the trends of the decomposition rate modeled using the exponential decay function. The fastest decomposition group consisted of Ceiba pentandra, Ricinodendron heudelotii and Gliricidia sepium, with respective half-life of 28, 34 and 39 days. The second group of species comprised Albizia zygia, Albizia adianthifolia, Albizia ferruginea with a moderate rate of decay and with respective half-life of 66 days, 85 days and 88 days. The last group of species consisted of Baphia nitida with a slow rate of decay and a half-life of 109 days. R. heudelotii and G. sepium are very rich in potassium with respective values of 0.802 and 0.860 %. A. zygia and C. pentandra had the highest crude protein of 21.0 % and 14.9 % of dry matter respectively. A. zygia, A.adianthifolia, and A. ferruginea and also C. pentandra and R. heudelotii can be used as suitable substitutes in mulching farmlands instead of the exotic leguminous species.

Responsible party
CSIR-Forestry Research Institute of Ghana
Attachment Size
Nkyi_decomposition_rate.pdf 441.04 KB