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Effects of Vegetation Patches on Soil Nutrient Pools and Fluxes within a Mixed-Conifer Forest

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At a spatially heterogeneous mixed-conifer forest in the central California Sierras, we quantified total carbon (C) and nitrogen (N), inorganic N, and net N mineralization in organic (O) and surface (0–15 cm) mineral soils, and in situ fluxes of inorganic N and ortho-phosphate using resin lysimeters under three patch types: closed canopy conifer, sparsely vegetated open canopy, and Ceanothus cordulatus thickets. In O horizons, total N and C pools ranked: closed canopy > Ceanothus > open canopy. In mineral soils, total N pools under Ceanothus exceeded those under closed canopy patches by about 30%. For 2 years, nitrate concentrations and rates of net N mineralization in O horizons were 4× greater under Ceanothus than under the other patch types. Similarly, ammonium concentrations and net N mineralization in mineral horizons were more than 80 and 200% greater, respectively, under Ceanothus than under the other patch types. In situ fluxes of nitrate were 4× greater beneath Ceanothus for 1 year, and no differences were found among the patch types for another year. Despite the interannual variability, our data suggest that Ceanothus contributes to a greater proportion of total N mineralized than based on cover alone, and may be important for forest nutrition under current conditions and after forest burning. FOR. SCI. 51(3):211–220.
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Keywords: Abies concolor; Ceanothus; Sierra Nevada forests; Soil nitrogen; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; natural resource management; natural resources; net nitrogen mineralization; soil carbon

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Science and Technology Universidad Metropolitana PO Box 21150 San Juan Puerto Rico 00928-1150 Current Address: 12410 SE McGillivray Boulevard Vancouver WA 98683, Email: [email protected] 2: School of Science and Technology Universidad Metropolitana PO Box 21150 San Juan Puerto Rico 00928-1150 3: Department of Environmental and Resource Science University of Nevada Reno NV 89557, Email: [email protected] 4: Sierra National Forest USFS Clovis CA 93611 5: Pacific Southwest Research Station USFS Fresno CA 93710

Publication date: 2005-06-01

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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