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Foliar nitrogen patterns following stand-replacing fire in lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia) forests of the Rocky Mountains, USA

Author(s): Kristine L. Metzger, William H. Romme, Monica G. Turner
Year Published: 2006
Description:

Little previous work has been conducted on effects of natural, high-severity wildfires on nitrogen (N) dynamics. We measured aboveground plant biomass, foliar N, and net N mineralization 2 years after stand-replacing fires in lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia) forests in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, USA. We detected a five-fold difference in foliar N (% dry weight) among 14 species, from 0.77% in the native grass Calamagrostis rubescens, to 3.4% in the native N-fixer Lupinus argenteus and the non-native forb Lactuca serriola. We also observed higher foliar N in the burned stands for four of six species that occurred in both burned and unburned areas. Mean net N mineralization ranged from -23 to +27 mg-N kg soil-1 year-1, and was predominantly NO3-. However, total biomass and foliar N, for all species combined, showed no relationships with site, fire severity, or net N mineralization-possibly because of (i) lack of inorganic N limitation, (ii) methodological shortcomings, (iii) spatial structure existing at different scales than we measured, or (iv) insufficient plant biomass at this early stage of post-fire development to respond to local variation in N availability.

Citation: Metzger, Kristine L.; Romme, William H.; Turner, Monica G. 2006. Foliar nitrogen patterns following stand-replacing fire in lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia) forests of the Rocky Mountains, USA. Forest Ecology and Management. 227(1-2): 22-30.
Topic(s): Fire Effects, Ecological - Second Order, Vegetation, Soils
Ecosystem(s): Subalpine wet spruce-fir forest, Subalpine dry spruce-fir forest, Montane wet mixed-conifer forest, Montane dry mixed-conifer forest
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 8268
FRAMES RCS number: 10154
Record updated: Mar 22, 2018