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Nutrient cycling in a poplar plantation (Populus trichocarpa × Populus deltoides 'Beaupré') on former agricultural land in northern Belgium

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Abstract:

Hydrological fluxes, atmospheric deposition, litterfall, and soil percolation of the most important nutrients were measured in an 18-year-old poplar plantation on a well-drained silt loam soil during 2 consecutive years. Downward soil water flux and transpiration are the most important factors in the water balance. Around 80% of total nitrogen input (6.6 and 6.5 kmol·ha–1 in years 1 and 2, respectively) originates from litterfall. After nitrification only a negligible amount of nitrate leaches during the growing season. Yearly uptake of nitrogen by the poplar ecosystem (woody biomass, leaves, and ground vegetation) approximately equals the input, of which more than 50% is accounted for by the leaves. This indicates very efficient nitrogen cycling. Total deposition of base cations originates from two processes, dry deposition (Mg2+ and Ca2+) and canopy leaching (K+ and Ca2+). Litter input of Ca2+ represents about 83% of the total input (stand deposition + litterfall), Mg2+ about 61%, and K+ less then 50%. Percolation of base cations at 1 m depth is very limited. Rather high Ca2+ and K+ contents of the woody biomass can lead to high exports at harvest. Nutrient cycling in the poplar stand proved to be very efficient, with no significant nutrient losses.

Durant 2 années successives, les flux hydrologiques, la déposition atmosphérique, la litière et la percolation de nutriments dans le sol ont été étudié dans une plantation de peupliers de 18 ans, installée sur un sol argile sableux bien drainé. Le flux descendant dans le sol et la transpiration sont les termes les plus importants du bilan hydrique. Presque 80 % du input total en azote (6,6 et 6,5 kmol·ha–1 en an 1 et an 2, respectivement) est d'origine litière. Après nitrification, seulement une quantité négligeable d'azote lessive pendant la saison de croissance. L'assimilation annuelle d'azote par l'écosystème peuplier (bois, feuilles et couverture végétale) équivaut pratiquement l'input, dont plus que 50 % dans les feuilles, indiquant l'efficacité du cycle d'azote. La déposition totale de cations basiques est élevée et enrichie par les processus de la déposition sèche (Mg2+ et Ca2+) et l'échange de nutriments au niveau de la cime (K+ et Ca2+). Input par la litière de Ca2+ représente environ 83 % de l'apport total, de Mg2+ environ 61 % et de K+ moins que 50 %. La percolation de cations de base à un mètre de profondeur est très limitée. Mais à cause de concentrations assez élevées en Ca2+ et K+ dans la biomasse ligneuse, des quantités considérables peuvent être exportés lors de l'abattage. Le cycle nutritif dans la plantation de peupliers se manifeste comme très efficace, sans pertes en nutriments significatives.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2006

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  • Published since 1971, this monthly journal features articles, reviews, notes and commentaries on all aspects of forest science, including biometrics and mensuration, conservation, disturbance, ecology, economics, entomology, fire, genetics, management, operations, pathology, physiology, policy, remote sensing, social science, soil, silviculture, wildlife and wood science, contributed by internationally respected scientists. It also publishes special issues dedicated to a topic of current interest.
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