Foliar Nutrient Characteristics of Four Conifer Species in the Interior Northwest United States

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This article provides foliar nutrient concentration distributions and sample size calculations for Douglas-fir, grand fir, ponderosa pine, and lodgepole pine. Managers can obtain foliar nutrient values from their own lands and use this information to make judgments on the relative nutrient status of forest stands. Foliage was collected from unfertilized trees at 160 different research sites of the Intermountain Forest Tree Nutrition Cooperative spanning a 16 yr period from 1982 to 1997. Douglas-fir showed the lowest variation in foliar nutrient concentrations, while grand fir was the most variable of the species sampled. Nitrogen was the least variable and Mn and Mo generally the most variable elements for all species. Grand fir had much higher foliar concentrations of K and Ca than the other species. Ponderosa pine had the highest foliar N concentrations. The pines generally have lower nutrient concentrations than the firs, with the exception of Zn. Western hemlock habitat types showed lower Douglas-fir foliar Ca, Mg, and B concentrations, but higher K concentrations than other habitat type series. Douglas-fir growing on soils derived from meta-sedimentary rocks generally had lower foliar nutrient concentrations than those growing on other rock types. West. J. Appl. For. 19(1):13–24.

Keywords: Abies grandis; P. contorta; Pinus ponderosa; Pseudotsuga menziesii; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; natural resource management; natural resources

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: Department of Forest Resources, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID, 83844,

Publication date: January 1, 2004

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Western Journal of Applied Forestry covers the western United States, including Alaska, and western Canada; WJAF will also consider manuscripts reporting research in northern Mexico that has potential application in the southwestern United States.
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