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Nutrient Leaching of a Loblolly Pine Forest Floor by Simulated Rainfall II. Environmental Factors

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A multiple-intensity simulator was used to apply 25.4 mm of simulated rainfall to forest floor samples (L and F. horizons) collected from a loblolly pine plantation and placed in l-m² pans. Leachate (rainfall that flowed through the forest floor) was sampled at intervals during each application. As simulated rainfall and forest floor materials temperature were increased from 8°C to 35°C, the PO4-P, NH4-N, and TOC concentrations in leachate increased about twofold. In contrast, NO3-N concentrations were independent of rainfall temperature. In a series of five simulated storms over a 27-day period, nutrient concentrations in leachate collected on the 27th day were only 16% to 41% of those sampled in the storm on the first day. Nutrient concentrations in leachate from simulated acid rain (pH 4.2) were similar to those produced by deionized water (pH 5.3). Within individual simulated storms, nutrient concentrations in leachate rapidly increased to a maximum and then decreased to a near constant value as the storm progressed. After maximum concentrations, the function C = aTb best described the relationship of concentration (C) with time (T); the function C = aebQ best described the relationship of concentration (C) with cumulative leachate volume (Q). Quantification of environmental influences on forest floor nutrient leaching, as described in this report, should aid nutrient cycling and water quality modeling. Results demonstrate that the rainfall simulator is a useful tool to study leaching kinetics. For. Sci. 36(3):772-789.

Keywords: Leachate; Pinus taeda; nitrogen; nutrient cycling; phosphorus; total organic carbon

Document Type: Journal Article

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

Publication date: September 1, 1990

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