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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 66 No. 2, p. 602-612
    Received: Aug 4, 2000

    * Corresponding author(s): larocque.marie@uqam.ca
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Using Models to Manage Soil Inorganic Nitrogen in Forest Tree Nurseries

  1. M. Larocque *a,
  2. O. Bantonb,
  3. J. Gagnonc and
  4. C. Camiréd
  1. a Département des Sciences de la Terre et de l'Atmosphère, Université du Québec à Montréal, C.P. 8888, succ. Centre-Ville, Montréal, QC, H3C 3P8 Canada
    b Laboratoire d'Hydrogéologie, Faculté des Sciences, Université d'Avignon, 33, rue Louis Pasteur, 84000 Avignon, France
    c Direction de la recherche forestière, Forêt Québec, Ministère des Ressources naturelles (MRN), 2700, Einstein, Sainte-Foy, QC, G1P 3W8 Canada
    d Centre de Recherche en Biologie Forestière (CRBF), Faculté de foresterie et de géomatique, Université Laval, Sainte-Foy, QC, G1K 7P4 Canada


The production of bareroot seedlings in tree nurseries requires large amounts of inorganic fertilizers. The fertilizer type and application schedule can have an effect on seedling growth and on NO3 losses to the environment. The objective of this study was to determine if a model simulating N dynamics in agricultural field soils could be used to estimate soil inorganic N levels in forest tree nursery soils. The model selected was AGRIFLUX, a mechanistic and stochastic model. The study was carried out from 1993 to 1995 in a Canada forest tree nursery located in Quebec. In 1994, four different treatments of N fertilization (186 kg N ha−1) were applied: nine applications of ammonium sulfate (AS: 21-0-0) every 2 wk compared with two and three seasonal applications of sulfur-coated urea (SCU: 38-0-0). Soil inorganic N concentrations were measured at depths of 0 to 20 and 20 to 40 cm. Temporal trends of inorganic N were generally well simulated by the model for both soil depths, considering the high variability of the field measurements. Results show that the AS treatment was better simulated than the SCU treatments. Sensitivity analysis revealed that most of the parameters used in AGRIFLUX have a relatively limited influence on the model results. This study shows that a model such as AGRIFLUX can be a useful tool for the estimation of inorganic N levels in forest tree nursery soils.

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Copyright © 2002. Soil Science SocietyPublished in Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J.66:602–612.