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Nutrient deliveries to the forest floor from precipitation, throughfall, and stemflow were determined for adjacent floodplain and upland forest communities in central Illinois. Net precipitation inputs to both forest floors were in the order: potassium > calcium > nitrogen » magnesium > phosphorus, with stemflow contributing less than 12 percent of the annual total for each element. Stemflow element concentrations were generally much greater than those of throughfall, and the nutrient concentration of both stemflow and throughfall were related to the seasonal presence or absence of foliage. Nutrient delivery to the forest floor via throughfall and stemflow was similar at the two forest sites, although there was considerable interannual variation in distribution among throughfall, stemflow, and retention by the canopy. The contribution of precipitation components to the return of nutrients to the forest floor is small compared to organic input from litterfall, with the exception of K which is readily leached from leaf tissue. Throughfall and stemflow inputs are important, however, since they are delivered to the forest floor mostly in ionic form and may be more readily available for plant uptake. Forest Sci. 28:321-332.
Professor, Department of Forestry, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801
Publication date: June 1, 1982
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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.