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Variation in foliar nitrogen and aboveground net primary production in young postfire lodgepole pine

Author(s): Monica G. Turner, Erica A. H. Smithwick, Daniel B. Tinker, William H. Romme
Year Published: 2009

Understanding nutrient dynamics of young postfire forests may yield important insights about how stands develop following stand-replacing wildfires. We studied 15-year-old lodgepole pine stands that regenerated naturally following the 1988 Yellowstone fires to address two questions: (1) How do foliar nitrogen (N) concentration and total foliar N vary with lodgepole pine density and aboveground net primary production? (2) Is foliar N related to litter production and to rates of gross production, consumption, and net production of soil NH4+ and NO3-? Foliar N concentration of new lodgepole pine needles averaged 1.38%; only stands at very high density (>80,000 trees·ha-1) approached moderate N limitation. Foliar N concentration in composite (all-age) needles averaged 1.08%, varied among stands (0.87%-1.39%), and declined with increasing tree density. The foliar N pool averaged 48.3 kg N·ha-1, varied among stands (3.6-218.4 kg N·ha-1), and increased with aboveground net primary production. Total foliar N was not related to laboratory estimates of net production of NH4+ or NO3- in soils. Lodgepole pine foliage is a strong N sink, and N does not appear to be limiting at this early successional state. The initial spatial patterns of postfire tree density strongly influence landscape patterns of N storage.

Citation: Turner, M. G., E. A. H. Smithwick, D. B. Tinker, and W. H. Romme. 2009. Variation in foliar nitrogen and aboveground net primary production in young postfire lodgepole pine. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, v. 39, no. 5, p. 1024-1035. 10.1139/X09-029.
Topic(s): Fire Effects
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 18424
FRAMES RCS number: 47952
TTRS (Tall Timbers Research Station) Number: 23986
Record updated: Nov 15, 2018