Particular humus forms in a tropical semi-evergreen forest of Guadeloupe

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Humus profiles underneath the canopy of dominant tree species in two secondary semi-evergreen forest sites in Grande-Terre (Guadeloupe) were analysed with a micromorphological method. In the vertisol of a tree plantation, the humus formed was rather similar under all tree species being an eumull and essentially due to the activity of the endoanecic earthworm Polypheretima elongata. In a natural secondary forest located on a steep slope and associated with a rendzina soil (without endoanecic earthworms), the humus forms were described at lower, mid- and upper slope. In this forest, two particular humus forms were observed. At the middle slope, underneath the canopy of Pisonia subcordata L. that produces nitrogen-rich litter, a calcareous amphimull, characterised by an OH horizon made of millipede faecal pellets, was formed. In the upper slope, underneath the canopy of Bursera simaruba (L.) Sarg. that produces a litter rich in resins and aromatic compounds that are poorly consumed by soil animals, a dysmull with a thick root mat (OFRh horizon) developed. Other humus forms were intermediate. The formation of these humus forms is discussed. © 2001 Académie des sciences/Éditions scientifiques et médicales Elsevier SAS.

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Comptes Rendus de l'Academie des Sciences - Serie III