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The chemistry of wet deposition for a tallgrass prairie ecosystem inputs and interactions with plant canopies






Biogeochemistry (Dordrecht) 4(3): 203-218

The chemistry of wet deposition for a tallgrass prairie ecosystem inputs and interactions with plant canopies

The chemistry and nutrient inputs of wet deposition, and the N chemistry of throughfall, were characterized for a tallgrass prairie in north-central Kansas. Dominant ions in wetfall were NH4+, Ca2+, H+, No3-, and SO42-; weighted mean pH was 4.79. Principal sources of ions appeared to be natural emissions and wind-blown soils. Concentrations of NO3--N, NH4+-N, and organic N in wet deposition were 0.31, 0.30, and 0.17 mg/L, respectively, resulting in N inputs of 2.5, 2.5 and 1.4 kg .cntdot. ha-1 .cntdot. yr-1. Comparisons with bulk precipitation suggested that at least 50% of atmospheric N inputs were from dry deposition. Concentrations of NO3--N, NH4+-N, and organic N in unburned prairie throughfall were 0.27, 0.28, and 1.28 mg/L, and in burned prairie throughfall were 0.33, 0.37, and 0.91 mg/L, respectively. The prairie canopy intercepted up to 48% of incident precipitation. Lower inorganic N and higher organic N concentrations in throughfall relative to wet deposition probably resulted from leaf uptake of N and immobilization by microbes associated with the standing dead plant materials of the prairie canopy. The removal of these materials by fire is important in maintaining N availability for tallgrass prairie. Much of the N immobilization appeared to have been of N that was supplied to the prairie canopy by dry deposition.

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Accession: 006614030

DOI: 10.1007/bf02187366



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