Forest succession, soil carbon accumulation, and rapid nitrogen storage in poorly remineralized soil organic matter

David Bruce Lewis, Michael J. Castellano, Jason P. Kaye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Substantial nitrogen (N) retention by temperate terrestrial ecosystems results from the rapid storage of newly deposited N in stable soil organic matter. Yet, we poorly understand the ecosystem properties that regulate the kinetics of this process. We applied mineral 15N to temperate hardwood forest soils to test the hypothesis that N stabilization is faster owing to greater stocks of soil carbon (C) in late-successional than in young forests. Within 26 minutes of addition, about 30% of tracer N was stored in stable form in organichorizon soil with a median residence time of >29 years. About 5-10% of tracer N was stored in a soluble organic form. An additional 30% of tracer N was recovered within hours from organic-horizon soils in a remineralizable (labile) form, apparently derived from microbial biomass. Over the following year, tracer N storage in stable and soluble organic pools remained constant while recovery from labile and microbial pools declined. Tracer storage was greater in older forests with larger soil C pools, supporting our hypothesis that the accumulation of soil C with forest succession promotes ecosystem N retention. Rapid storage of stable soil N in the O horizon may create a source for chronic dissolved organic N losses from watersheds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2687-2693
Number of pages7
JournalEcology
Volume95
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014

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forest succession
soil carbon
soil organic matter
tracer
tracer techniques
carbon
nitrogen
soil
organic horizons
ecosystem
soil horizon
dissolved organic nitrogen
temperate forest
terrestrial ecosystem
ecosystems
forest soil
hardwood forests
residence time
temperate forests
stabilization

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

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abstract = "Substantial nitrogen (N) retention by temperate terrestrial ecosystems results from the rapid storage of newly deposited N in stable soil organic matter. Yet, we poorly understand the ecosystem properties that regulate the kinetics of this process. We applied mineral 15N to temperate hardwood forest soils to test the hypothesis that N stabilization is faster owing to greater stocks of soil carbon (C) in late-successional than in young forests. Within 26 minutes of addition, about 30{\%} of tracer N was stored in stable form in organichorizon soil with a median residence time of >29 years. About 5-10{\%} of tracer N was stored in a soluble organic form. An additional 30{\%} of tracer N was recovered within hours from organic-horizon soils in a remineralizable (labile) form, apparently derived from microbial biomass. Over the following year, tracer N storage in stable and soluble organic pools remained constant while recovery from labile and microbial pools declined. Tracer storage was greater in older forests with larger soil C pools, supporting our hypothesis that the accumulation of soil C with forest succession promotes ecosystem N retention. Rapid storage of stable soil N in the O horizon may create a source for chronic dissolved organic N losses from watersheds.",
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Forest succession, soil carbon accumulation, and rapid nitrogen storage in poorly remineralized soil organic matter. / Lewis, David Bruce; Castellano, Michael J.; Kaye, Jason P.

In: Ecology, Vol. 95, No. 10, 01.10.2014, p. 2687-2693.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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