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15N-ammonium and 15N-nitrate uptake of a 15-year-old Picea abies plantation


Oecologia (Berlin) 102(3): 361-370
15N-ammonium and 15N-nitrate uptake of a 15-year-old Picea abies plantation
Throughfall nitrogen of a 15-year-old Picea abies (L.) Karst. (Norway spruce) stand in the Fichtelgebirge, Germany, was labeled with either 15N-ammonium or 15N-nitrate and uptake of these two tracers was followed during two successive growing seasons (1991 and 1992). 15N-labeling (62 mg 15N m-2 under conditions of 1.5 g N m-2 atmospheric nitrogen deposition) did not increase N concentrations in plant tissues. The 15 N recovery within the entire stand (including soils) was 94% +- 6% of the applied 15Nammonium tracer and 100% +- 6% of the applied 15N-nitrate tracer during the 1st year of investigation. This decreased to 80% +- 24% and 83% +- 20%, respectively, during the 2nd year. After 11 days, the 15N tracer was detectable in 1-year-old spruce needles and leaves of understory species. After 1 month, tracer was detectable in needle litter fall. At the end of the first growing season, more than 50% of the 15N taken up by spruce was assimilated in needles, and more than 20% in twigs. The relative distribution of recovered tracer of both 15N-ammonium and 15N-nitrate was similar within the different foliage age classes (recent to 11-year-old) and other compartments of the trees. 15N enrichment generally decreased with increasing tissue age. Roots accounted for up to 20% of the recovered 15N in spruce; no enrichment could be detected in stem wood. Although 15N-ammonium and 15N-nitrate were applied in the same molar quantities (15NH-4+: 15NO-3- = 1:1), the tracers were diluted differently in the inorganic soil N pools (15NH-4+/NH-4+: 15NO-3-/NO-3- = 1:9). Therefore the measured 15N amounts retained by the vegetation do not represent the actual fluxes of ammonium and nitrate in the soil solution. Use of the molar ammonium-to-nitrate ratio of 9:1 in the soil water extract to estimate 15N uptake from inorganic N pools resulted in a 2-4 times higher ammonium than nitrate uptake by P. abies.

Accession: 002549747

DOI: 10.1007/bf00329803

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