Englemann spruce nitrogen dynamics across a nitrogen deposition gradient in Colorado, USA
We asked whether nitrogen (N) deposition has altered Englemann spruce (Picea englemannii) biogeochemistry along the east side of the Colorado Front Range, USA. Twelve similar old-growth Englemann spruce stands were sampled, six with low (1-2 kg N ha-1 yr-1) and six with higher (3-5 kg N ha-1 yr-1) N deposition inputs. Species composition, elevation, aspect, parent material, site history and climate were matched as closely as possible across all sites. High N deposition sites had significantly lower organic horizon C:N and lignin:N ratios, and foliar lignin:N and C:N ratios, as well as greater %N and N:Mg ratios, and potential net mineralization rates. The relationship between organic horizon %N and potential net mineralization rates suggests a threshold of 1.2% N, above which mineralization increases linearly. Studies in the Northeastern US and Europe have found changes in forest biogeochemistry in response to nitrogen (N) deposition inputs between 3-60 kg N ha-1 yr-1. Our results suggest that current levels of N deposition (3-5 kg N ha-1 yr-1) along the Colorado Front Range may be altering Englemann spruce biogeochemistry. The results indicate even relatively low N inputs may cause measurable changes in forest biogeochemistry.
|Englemann spruce nitrogen dynamics across a nitrogen deposition gradient in Colorado, USA
|H.M. Rueth, Jill Baron
|USGS Publications Warehouse