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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract - FOREST, RANGE & WILDLAND SOILS

Emission of Nitrogen Gas, Nitrous Oxide, and Carbon Dioxide on Rehydration of Dry Feathermosses


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 71 No. 1, p. 214-218
    Received: Dec 3, 2004

    * Corresponding author(s): startsev@ualberta.ca
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  1. N. A. Startsev * and
  2. V. J. Lieffers
  1. Dep. of Renewable Resources, Faculty of Agric. Forestry and Home Econ., Univ. of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada, T6G 2H1


Two experiments were conducted to examine the fate of N in feathermosses when mosses were dehydrated and then rewetted. In the first experiment, dry feathermoss shoots were sealed in containers where the N2 was replaced by He. After rewetting and incubating for 20 h, gas in the containers had significant amounts of N2 and N2O and had elevated levels of CO2 compared with mosses maintained in a moist condition or dried mosses that had not been rewetted. In the second experiment, samples of feathermoss were subjected to five dry–wet cycles. By the fifth cycle, there was a 9% reduction in mass of the moss and a similar decline in quantity of N. The results of this study suggest that in forests undergoing dry–wet cycles, there is a potential for N volatilization directly from the moss layer. After drying and rewetting, the moss releases sugars and soluble forms of N into the substrate, creating a suitable environment for aerobic denitrification. Thus, more N is lost from an already N-deficient ecosystem.

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