The Amazonian rainforest is critical to our shared human future. Therefore, we need to understand the structure and function of their forests and soils are a critical part of that investigation. Towards that end, soil samples were taken in eight different forests, both non-flooded (terra firme-low forests, terra firme-high forests, white sand-varillal forests, white sand-chamizal forests and palm forests) and flooded by black-water (high restinga, low restinga and tahaumpa forests), at two locations in Loreto Province, Peru and analyzed for soil pH, soil organic matter, and soil nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). Results showed that: (1) soil pH of the non-flooded forests was very similar to flooded forests, but flooded forests became more basic as flooding increased in duration; (2) soil organic matter was lowest in the two non-flooded terra firme forests and increased as flooding increased in duration; (3) N was lowest in the palm forest, P was lowest in terra firme-low terrace forest and K was lowest in the terra firme-high terrace forest; (4) N decreased sharply as flooding duration increased, both P and K increased while (5) for some non-flooded forests there was a correspondence between soil fertility and floristic similarity. In conclusion, while flooding decreases pH and N, it increases soil organic matter, P and K.
Key words: Palm forest, restinga, tahuampa, terra firme, white sand forest.
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