Differential Impacts of Acacia Invasion on Nutrient Fluxes in Two Distinct Bornean Lowland Tropical Rain Forests


Invasive Acacia species can alter nutrient cycling processes in forest ecosystems, particularly affecting total litterfall production and litter decomposition patterns. This study examined the effects of exotic Acacia mangium Willd. on total litterfall production, nutrient concentrations in leaf litterfall fractions, leaf litter decomposition, and nutrient release in lowland heath (HF) and mixed dipterocarp forests (MDF) in Brunei Darussalam, Borneo. Above-ground litterfall traps were installed in HF and MDF with and without invasive Acacia present, representing four habitat types in total, and monthly collections were conducted for 12 months. Litter decomposition bags were deployed to determine the rates of decomposition and nutrient release. Habitats invaded by Acacia exhibited higher total litterfall production, increased leaf litter concentrations of nitrogen, potassium, and calcium, and increased addition of all nutrients measured in litter (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, especially in the Acacia-invaded mixed dipterocarp forest (AMDF) and nitrogen and potassium in Acacia-invaded heath forest (AHF)), reduced nitrogen and potassium use efficiencies in AHF, and reduced stand-level nitrogen and calcium use efficiencies in AMDF. Litter decomposition rates and nutrient release were lower in AMDF than in the three other habitats. The significantly higher total litterfall production coupled with higher nutrient addition in the two Acacia-invaded habitats is expected to progressively increase the abilities of these habitats to produce large quantities of nutrient-rich litter and will likely eventually lead to an enrichment of nutrients in the soil, thus facilitating further invasion by Acacia, particularly in the MDF.