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Ecosystem Effects of Sitka Alder in a Douglas-fir Plantation

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The natural seeding of Sitka alder [Alnus sinuata (Regel) Rydb.] into a portion of a Douglas-fir [Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco] plantation afforded an opportunity to assess the effects of shrubby Sitka alder on Douglas-fir growth and nutrient content, on ecosystem biomass, aboveground net primary production, and litterfall, and on soils. Estimated accretion of nitrogen (N) was 30 kg ha-1 yr-1 for 23 years in the Sitka alder/Douglas-fir ecosystem. Though Douglas-fir stocking and basal area were not significantly affected by Sitka alder, current average dbh was 13 percent greater, 5-year average basal area growth 33 percent greater, and stem biomass increment 40 percent greater on the Sitka alder site. Nitrogen concentrations in Douglas-fir foliage increased significantly with Sitka alder present, but concentrations of phosphorus and sulfur were markedly reduced. Nutrient content of litterfall was 3 to 7 times greater on the Sitka alder site, and the soil-N availability index was 3-fold greater. Moderate N-fixation rates and shrubby growth form of Sitka alder combine to make it an attractive species for mixture with conifers on N-deficient sites. Forest Sci. 30:26-35.

Keywords: Nitrogen fixation; biomass; nutrient cycling

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Associate Professor, Department of Forest Science, Oregon State University

Publication date: 1984-03-01

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.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.702
    Ranking: 16 of 66 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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