Estimating oil-palm Si storage, Si return to soils and Si losses through harvest in smallholder oil-palm plantations of Sumatra, Indonesia

2022 | preprint. A publication with affiliation to the University of Göttingen.

Jump to: Cite & Linked | Documents & Media | Details | Version history

Cite this publication

​Estimating oil-palm Si storage, Si return to soils and Si losses through harvest in smallholder oil-palm plantations of Sumatra, Indonesia​
Greenshields, B.; Lühe, B. von der ; Schwarz, F.; Hughes, H. J.; Tjoa, A.; Kotowska, M.& Brambach, F.  et al.​ (2022). DOI: https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2022-905 

Documents & Media

egusphere-2022-905.pdf1.89 MBAdobe PDF

License

Attribution 4.0 CC BY 4.0

Details

Authors
Greenshields, Britta; Lühe, Barbara von der ; Schwarz, Felix; Hughes, Harold James; Tjoa, Aiyen; Kotowska, Martyna; Brambach, Fabian ; Sauer, Daniela 
Abstract
Silicon (Si) is known to have multiple beneficial effects on crops. Most plant-available Si in soils is provided through litter decomposition and subsequent phytolith dissolution, especially in strongly desilicated tropical soils. The importance of Si cycling in tropical soil-plant systems raised the question if oil-palm cultivation, the oil palm being a Si-accumulating crop, alters Si cycling. As Si accumulates in plant tissue, we hypothesized that i) Si is stored in the aboveground biomass of oil palms with time, and that ii) the system might lose considerable amounts of Si every year through fruit-bunch harvest. To test these hypotheses, we sampled leaflets, the rachis, fruit-bunch stalk, fruit pulp, kernels and frond bases from mature oil palms planted on well-drained and temporarily flooded riparian smallholder oil-palm plantations (n = 4 each) in lowland Sumatra, Indonesia. We quantified Si concentrations of these oil-palm parts by NaCO3 extraction. We further estimated Si storage in the total above-ground biomass of the oil palms, Si return to soils through decomposing pruned palm fronds, and Si losses from the system through harvest, to assess if Si return to soils via pruned palm fronds sufficed for maintaining Si cycling in the system, or if any measures are needed to compensate for Si export through fruit-bunch harvest. At all sites, leaflets of oil-palm fronds had a significantly higher (p ≤ 0.05) mean Si concentration (≥ 1 wt. %) than the rachis, frond base, fruit-bunch stalk, fruit pulp and kernel (≤ 0.5 wt. %). All analysed oil-palm parts had a Si/Ca weight ratio ≥ 1, except for the rachis. At well-drained sites, mean Si concentrations in leaflets increased with palm-frond age (R² = 0.98). Estimates of Si storage in the total above-ground biomass of oil palms, Si return to soils through decomposing pruned palm fronds, and Si losses through harvest were similar at well-drained and riparian sites: a single palm tree could store about 4–5 kg of Si in its total above-ground biomass, a smallholder oil-palm plantation of 1 hectare could store about 550 kg of Si in the palm trees’ above-ground biomass. Pruned palm fronds were estimated to return 110–131 kg of Si per hectare to topsoils each year. Fruit-bunch harvest corresponded to an annual Si export of 32–72 kg Si per hectare in 2015 and 2018. Thus, on smallholder plantations in our study area, more Si can be returned to soils through pruned palm fronds than is lost through fruit-bunch harvest. Greater Si losses would occur if oil-palm stems were removed from plantations prior to replanting. Therefore, it is advisable to leave oil-palm stems on the plantations e.g., by distributing chipped stem parts across the plantation at the end of a plantation cycle (~25 years). This would return about 550 kg ha-1 Si stored in the palm trees’ above-ground biomass to the soils.
Issue Date
2022
Organization
Fakultät für Forstwissenschaften und Waldökologie ; Burckhardt-Institut ; Abteilung Biodiversität, Makroökologie und Biogeographie ; Abteilung Physische Geographie 
Extent
22
Language
English

Reference

Citations


Social Media