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Effects of Fertilization and Vegetation Control on Microbial Biomass Carbon and Dehydrogenase Activity in a Juvenile Loblolly Pine Plantation

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To characterize the influences of fertilization and understory vegetation suppression on microbial biomass and activity in a juvenile loblolly pine plantation, we measured microbial biomass C (Cmic) and dehydrogenase activity in soil monthly in response to (1) untreated control (CONT), (2) understory suppression with glyphosate (BC), (3) pine removal (NP), (4) pine removal with understory suppression (NPBC), (5) urea + diammonium phosphate with understory suppression (UDBC), and (5) slow-release urea with understory suppression (CUFBC). Cmic and dehydrogenase activity were significantly decreased relative to the CONT treatment by the NP, NPBC, UDBC, and CUFBC treatments. These reductions likely indicate a dependence of soil microbes on labile C sources derived from living vegetation. Fertilization + brush control decreased Cmic and dehydrogenase activity to a greater extent than brush control alone, suggesting that the availability of labile C sources was adversely affected by fertilization. Short-term reductions in Cmic were correlated with increases in soil NO3 . Results of this study demonstrate that, in this young, intensively managed pine plantation, labile C substrates from vegetation may be a predominant determinant of soil N availability through its influence on microbial biomass and activity. FOR. SCI. 51(5):449–459.

Keywords: Fertilization; Pinus taeda; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; microorganisms; natural resource management; natural resources; vegetation suppression

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: 1: Hill Farm Research Station Louisiana State University Agricultural Center Homer LA 71040 Phone: (318) 927-2578;, Fax: (318) 927-9505, Email: 2: Department of Forestry Oklahoma State University Stillwater OK 74078, Email: 3: Department of Plant and Soil Science Oklahoma State University Stillwater OK 74078, Email:

Publication date: October 1, 2005

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

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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