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Temporal and spatial variation of nitrogen transformations in nitrogen-saturated soils of a central Appalachian hardwood forest


Temporal and spatial variation of nitrogen transformations in nitrogen-saturated soils of a central Appalachian hardwood forest



Canadian journal of forest research 31(10): 1768-1785



ISSN/ISBN: 0045-5067

DOI: 10.1139/x01-106

We studied temporal and spatial patterns of soil nitrogen (N) dynamics from 1993 to 1995 in three watersheds of Fernow Experimental Forest, W.V.: WS7 (24-year-old, untreated); WS4 (mature, untreated); and WS3 (24-year-old, treated with (NH4)2SO4 since 1989 at the rate of 35 kg N(.)ha-1(.)year-1). Net nitrification was 141, 114, and 115 kg N(.)ha-1(.)year-1, for WS3, WS4, and WS7, respectively, essentially 100% of net N mineralization for all watersheds. Temporal (seasonal) patterns of nitrification were significantly related to soil moisture and ambient temperature in untreated watersheds only. Spatial patterns of soil water NO3(-) of WS4 suggest that microenvironmental variability limits rates of N processing in some areas of this N-saturated watershed, in part by ericaceous species in the herbaceous layer. Spatial patterns of soil water NO3(-) in treated WS3 suggest that later stages of N saturation may result in higher concentrations with less spatial variability. Spatial variability in soil N variables was lower in treated WS3 versus untreated watersheds. Nitrogen additions have altered the response of N-processing microbes to environmental factors, becoming less sensitive to seasonal changes in soil moisture and temperature. Biotic processes responsible for regulating N dynamics may be compromised in N-saturated forest ecosystems.

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Accession: 003959369

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