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

Effects of Nitrogen Enrichment, Wildfire, and Harvesting on Forest-Soil Carbon and Nitrogen


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 65 No. 4, p. 1248-1255
    Received: Apr 17, 2000

    * Corresponding author(s): ivanjf@maine.edu
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  1. Jennifer L. Parkera,
  2. Ivan J. Fernandez *a,
  3. Lindsey E. Rustadc and
  4. Stephen A. Nortonb
  1. a Dep. of Plant, Soil, and Environmental Sciences
    c USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Experiment Station, Durham, NH 03824
    b Dep. of Geological Sciences, Univ. of Maine, Orono, ME 04469


Northern forest soils represent large reservoirs of C and N that may be altered by ecosystem perturbations. Soils at three paired watershed in Maine were investigated as case studies of experimentally elevated N deposition, wildfire, and whole-tree harvesting. Eight years of experimental (NH4)2SO4 additions at the Bear Brook Watershed in Maine significantly reduced forest-floor C/N ratios from 30.6 to 23.4. Forest-floor C and N pools were lower in the treated watershed (38 Mg C ha−1, 1612 kg N ha−1) compared with the reference (75 Mg C ha−1, 2372 kg N ha−1). Fifty years after wildfire at Acadia National Park, the burned watershed with hardwood regeneration had significantly lower forest-floor C and N concentrations (208 g C kg−1 soil, 9.9 g N kg−1 soil) than the reference watershed dominated by a softwoods (437 g C kg−1 soil, 12.8 g N kg−1 soil). Forest-floor C and N pools were lower in the burned watershed (27 Mg C ha−1, 1323 kg N ha−1) compared with the reference (71 Mg C ha−1, 2088 kg N ha−1). At the Weymouth Point, the harvested watershed regenerated to spruce-fir, the dominant stand type that existed before the harvest, and it had significantly lower forest-floor C concentrations and pools (406 g C kg−1 soil, 24 Mg C ha−1) than the reference (442 g C kg−1 soil, 39 Mg C ha−1) after 17 yr. All perturbations studied were associated with lower forest-floor C pools.

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Copyright © 2001. Soil Science SocietyPublished in Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J.65:1248–1255.