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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract - DIVISION S-7-FOREST & RANGE SOILS

Revegetation and Nitrate Leaching from Lake States Northern Hardwood Forests Following Harvest


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 63 No. 5, p. 1424-1429
    Received: June 10, 1998

    * Corresponding author(s): drzak@umich.edu
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  1. Thomas M. Isemana,
  2. Donald R. Zak *a,
  3. William E. Holmesa and
  4. Amy G. Merrilla
  1.  aSchool of Natural Resources & Environment, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 48109-1115 USA


The sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marshall)–red oak (Quercus rubra L.) and sugar maple–basswood (Tilia americana L.) ecosystems are Lake States forests that differ in net nitrification (5 and 15 g N m−2 yr−1, respectively), but experience equivalent rates of NO 3 leaching following clear-cut harvest (≈5 g N m−2 yr−1). Our objectives were to determine whether high rates of N leaching are sustained following harvest and whether ecosystem-specific patterns of biomass accumulation influence NO 3 loss. We studied two stands in each ecosystem and established four research plots in each stand; two plots were clear-cut in 1991 and two were controls. In 1996, we measured soil solution NO 3 concentration (1-m depth) and calculated areal losses by a water balance method. We used allometric equations to estimate woody biomass in clearcut plots; herbaceous biomass was clipped. In the sugar maple–red oak ecosystem, NO 3 leaching from 5-yr-old clear-cut plots (0.56 g N m−2 yr−1) was significantly greater than leaching from control plots (0.05 g N m−2 yr−1). In contrast, NO 3 leaching did not differ between control (0.41 g N m−2 yr−1) and 5-yr-old clear-cut (0.02 g N m−2 yr−1) in the sugar maple–basswood ecosystem; however, loss from these clear-cut plots was significantly lower than that from clear-cut sugar maple–red oak plots. Five years after harvest, 7.1 Mg ha−1 of aboveground biomass accumulated in clear-cut sugar maple–basswood plots, almost twice that of clear-cut sugar maple–red oak plots (3.9 Mg ha−1). Five years after harvest, the highest rates of NO 3 loss occurred in the sugar maple–red oak ecosystem, in which aboveground biomass accumulation was least.

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