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Leaching of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Total Organic Carbon from Loblolly Pine Litter by Simulated Rainfall

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Information on nutrients leached from pine litter, which should aid the understanding of nutrient cycling, was derived by applying simulated rainfall to loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) litter in 1.0 m² pans with a multiple-intensity rainfall simulator. In one study, rainfall intensity was varied from 12 to 105 mm · h-1; in another study, intensity was held constant at 25 mm · h-1, but applied to three litter weights of 3.4, 5.3, and 7.8 t · ha-1. At each intensity and litter weight, 25.4 mm of rainfall was applied. New litter was used for each replicate. Runoff sampled throughout each replicate was analyzed for NH4-N, PO4-P, and total organic carbon (TOC). Nutrient concentrations in runoff rapidly increased to a maximum and then rapidly decreased to a near constant value in the remaining runoff. Hyperbolic equations, Y = a + b/X, best described the concentration curves as a function of time and runoff volume following the maximum concentration. Regardless of intensity, litter weight, or nutrient, maximum concentration occurred in the first 1.5 mm of rainfall after runoff began; the near constant concentration occurred after the first 14 mm. Nutrient concentrations and losses increased as litter weight was increased; however, in general, neither concentrations nor losses were related to rainfall intensity. Forest Sci. 31:750-759.

Keywords: Pinus taeda; ammonium; nutrient cycling

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Supervisory Soil Scientist, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Sedimentation Laboratory, P.O. Box 1157, Oxford, MS 38655

Publication date: September 1, 1985

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