Leaf quality of selected hedgerow species at two canopy ages in the derived savanna zone of West Africa uri icon

abstract

  • Prunings in hedgerow intercropping systems are a potential source of organic matter and their quality is an important characteristic driving decomposition and nutrient release. To determine the potential range of residue characteristics and the impact of canopy age on those, selected characteristics of Leucaena leucocephala, Gliricidia sepium, and Senna siamea hedgerow leaf residues were determined for 'young' (5-10 weeks) and 'old' (39-47 weeks) hedgerow canopies in six sites, representative in terms of soil for the derived savanna zone of West-Africa. The N content of the Leucaena and Senna residues decreased with age (from 4.8 to 3.9% and from 4.1 to 3.0%, respectively, while the N content of the Gliricidia residues remained constant (3.9%). The P content of all species decreased with age (from 0.30 to 0.20%, on average). The lignin content of the Leucaena residues increased, and their polyphenol content decreased with age, while for the Senna residues only an increase in polyphenol content with canopy age was evident. Neither the lignin nor the polyphenol content of the Gliricidia leaf residues was markedly affected by canopy age. For all species, the P and ADF content were positively correlated with the ash and lignin content, respectively. The N content of the Leucaena and Senna residues was positively correlated with their P content while the lignin content of the same species was negatively correlated with the polyphenol content. Because of the low variation in certain residue characteristics between sites, the presented data and equations could potentially be used to reasonably estimate those characteristics if no other information is available. For other characteristics, such as polyphenol contents, measurements are preferable in view of the relatively high variation encountered.

publication date

  • 2001
  • 2001