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Prediction of Soil Nitrogen Availability in Forest Ecosystems: A Literature Review

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The increasing interest in the use of N fertilizers to stimulate forest growth is prompting consideration of laboratory soil testing methods to predict the probability of N response. However, even in tilled agricultural systems, laboratory tests for N availability are not widely accepted. To be successful in predicting N response in the forest ecosystem, many additional factors than those used in agriculture must be considered. These include the sources and sinks of N and the internal redistribution of N in the trees, as well as intensity of management. Problems also exist with selection of the sample, since the forest floor litter oftentimes constitutes a major reservoir of N. Availability of this N will be difficult to estimate. Spatial variability also presents formidable obstacles in obtaining a valid sample. However, some success with N availability tests has been reported in the Douglas-fir ecosystems of western United States, particularly with the anaerobic incubation method. Further progress will require considerable research effort and careful attention to the N cycle. Forest Sci. 26:159-171.
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Keywords: Nitrogen cycle; nitrogen fertilization; soil testing

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Professor, Department of Soil Science, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706

Publication date: 1980-03-01

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2016 Impact Factor: 1.782 (Rank 17/64 in forestry)

    Average time from submission to first decision: 62.5 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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