Seasonal and Diurnal Patterns and Rates of Nitrogen Fixation by Young Red Alder

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Annual and diurnal N2 fixation by red alder was monitored using the acetylene (C2H2) reduction method. Two- and three-year-old red alder, which had naturally seeded on spoil materials from a coal mine near Centralia, Washington, were used in this study. Dinitrogen (C2H2) fixation occurred during a 7-month period which corresponded to the growing season for alder. Mean C2H2 reduction for the period was 27.5 moles/g dry nodule/hr. Maximum rates of fixation occurred in May and June. Diurnal patterns showed highest rates at midday, with midday rates being four to six times greater than night rates. Total N fixed for the growing season averaged 7.7 g N/tree, which represented approximately 70 percent of the total N accumulated by the plant during the growing season. At a stand density of 8,000 trees/ha, which is the average stand density of the area sampled, annual N fixed was estimated at 62 kg/ha. Forest Sci. 25:371-380.

Keywords: Alnus rubra; acetylene reduction; fertilization; nutrient cycling

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Forest Scientist, Western Washington Research & Extension Center, Puyallup, Washington

Publication date: June 1, 1979

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