Nitrogen Leaching of Two Forest Ecosystems in a Karst Watershed View Full Text


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Article Info

DATE

2010-11-12

AUTHORS

Georg Jost, Thomas Dirnböck, Maria-Theresia Grabner, Michael Mirtl

ABSTRACT

Karst watersheds are a major source of drinking water in the European Alps. These watersheds exhibit quick response times and low residence times, which might make karst aquifers more vulnerable to elevated nitrogen (N) deposition than non-karst watersheds. We summarize 13 years of monitoring NO3−, NH4+, and total N in two forest ecosystems, a Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) forest on Cambisols/Stagnosols (IP I) and a mixed beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) spruce forest on Leptosols (IP II). N fluxes are calculated by multiplying concentrations, measured in biweekly intervals, with hydrological fluxes predicted from a hydrological model. The total N deposition in the throughfall amounts to 26.8 and 21.1 kg/ha/year in IP I and IP II, respectively, which is high compared to depositions found in other European forest ecosystems. While the shallow Leptosols at IP II accumulated on average 9.2 kg/ha/year of N between 1999 and 2006, the N budgets of the Cambisols/Stagnosols at IP I were equaled over the study period but show high inter-annual variation. Between 1999 and 2006, on average, 9 kg/ha/year of DON and 20 kg/ha/year of DIN were output with seepage water of IP I but only 4.5 kg/ha/year of DON and 7.7 kg/ha/year of DIN at IP II. Despite high DIN leaching, neither IP I nor IP II showed further signs of N saturation in their organic layer C/N ratios, N mineralization, or leaf N content. The N budget over all years was dominated by a few extreme output events. Nitrate leaching rates at both forest ecosystems correlated the most with years of above average snow accumulation (but only for IP I this correlation is statistically significant). Both snow melt and total annual precipitation were most important drivers of DON leaching. IP I and IP II showed comparable temporal patterns of both concentrations and flux rates but exhibited differences in magnitudes: DON, NO3−, and NH4+ inputs peak in spring, NH4+ showed an additional peak in autumn; the bulk of the annual NO3− and DON output occurred in spring; DON, NO3−, and NH4+ output rates during winter months were low. The high DIN leaching at IP I was related to snow cover effects on N mineralization and soil hydrology. From the year 2004 onwards, disproportional NO3− leaching occurred at both plots. This was possibly caused by the exceptionally dry year 2003 and a small-scale bark beetle infestation (at IP I), in addition to snow cover effects. This study shows that both forest ecosystems at Zöbelboden are still N limited. N leaching pulses, particularly during spring, dictate not only annual but also the long-term N budgets. The overall magnitude of N leaching to the karst aquifer differs substantially between forest and soil types, which are found in close proximity in the karstified areas of the Northern Limestone Alps in Austria. More... »

PAGES

633-649

References to SciGraph publications

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  • 2007-07-13. The effect of forest type on throughfall deposition and seepage flux: a review in OECOLOGIA
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  • 2008-06-07. Experimental snowpack reduction alters organic matter and net N mineralization potential of soil macroaggregates in a northern hardwood forest in BIOLOGY AND FERTILITY OF SOILS
  • 2010-08-07. Microbial N turnover processes in three forest soil layers following clear cutting of an N saturated mature spruce stand in PLANT AND SOIL
  • 2002-03. Deposition and soil leaching in stands of Norway spruce and European Beech: Results from the Höglwald research in comparison with other European case studies in PLANT AND SOIL
  • 2008-09-10. Spatial and temporal variability of nitrate concentration in seepage water under a mature Norway spruce [Picea abies (L.) Karst] stand before and after clear cut in PLANT AND SOIL
  • 2005-02-25. Karst groundwater: a challenge for new resources in HYDROGEOLOGY JOURNAL
  • 2003-03. Effects of harvesting on nutrient leaching in a Norway spruce (Picea abies Karst.) ecosystem on a Lithic Leptosol in the Northern Limestone Alps in PLANT AND SOIL
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    25 schema:description Karst watersheds are a major source of drinking water in the European Alps. These watersheds exhibit quick response times and low residence times, which might make karst aquifers more vulnerable to elevated nitrogen (N) deposition than non-karst watersheds. We summarize 13 years of monitoring NO3−, NH4+, and total N in two forest ecosystems, a Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) forest on Cambisols/Stagnosols (IP I) and a mixed beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) spruce forest on Leptosols (IP II). N fluxes are calculated by multiplying concentrations, measured in biweekly intervals, with hydrological fluxes predicted from a hydrological model. The total N deposition in the throughfall amounts to 26.8 and 21.1 kg/ha/year in IP I and IP II, respectively, which is high compared to depositions found in other European forest ecosystems. While the shallow Leptosols at IP II accumulated on average 9.2 kg/ha/year of N between 1999 and 2006, the N budgets of the Cambisols/Stagnosols at IP I were equaled over the study period but show high inter-annual variation. Between 1999 and 2006, on average, 9 kg/ha/year of DON and 20 kg/ha/year of DIN were output with seepage water of IP I but only 4.5 kg/ha/year of DON and 7.7 kg/ha/year of DIN at IP II. Despite high DIN leaching, neither IP I nor IP II showed further signs of N saturation in their organic layer C/N ratios, N mineralization, or leaf N content. The N budget over all years was dominated by a few extreme output events. Nitrate leaching rates at both forest ecosystems correlated the most with years of above average snow accumulation (but only for IP I this correlation is statistically significant). Both snow melt and total annual precipitation were most important drivers of DON leaching. IP I and IP II showed comparable temporal patterns of both concentrations and flux rates but exhibited differences in magnitudes: DON, NO3−, and NH4+ inputs peak in spring, NH4+ showed an additional peak in autumn; the bulk of the annual NO3− and DON output occurred in spring; DON, NO3−, and NH4+ output rates during winter months were low. The high DIN leaching at IP I was related to snow cover effects on N mineralization and soil hydrology. From the year 2004 onwards, disproportional NO3− leaching occurred at both plots. This was possibly caused by the exceptionally dry year 2003 and a small-scale bark beetle infestation (at IP I), in addition to snow cover effects. This study shows that both forest ecosystems at Zöbelboden are still N limited. N leaching pulses, particularly during spring, dictate not only annual but also the long-term N budgets. The overall magnitude of N leaching to the karst aquifer differs substantially between forest and soil types, which are found in close proximity in the karstified areas of the Northern Limestone Alps in Austria.
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    32 schema:keywords Alps
    33 Austria
    34 C/N ratios
    35 Cambisols/Stagnosols
    36 DIN
    37 DIN leaching
    38 DON
    39 DON leaching
    40 DON output
    41 European Alps
    42 European forest ecosystems
    43 IP I
    44 IP II
    45 Leptosols
    46 Limestone Alps
    47 N content
    48 N ratios
    49 NH4
    50 Northern Limestone Alps
    51 Norway spruce forest
    52 Stagnosols
    53 Zöbelboden
    54 accumulation
    55 addition
    56 additional peaks
    57 annual precipitation
    58 aquifer
    59 area
    60 autumn
    61 average snow accumulation
    62 bark beetle infestation
    63 beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) spruce forest
    64 beetle infestation
    65 biweekly intervals
    66 budget
    67 bulk
    68 close proximity
    69 comparable temporal patterns
    70 concentration
    71 content
    72 cover effects
    73 deposition
    74 differences
    75 drinking water
    76 drivers
    77 dry year 2003
    78 ecosystems
    79 effect
    80 elevated nitrogen deposition
    81 events
    82 extreme output events
    83 flux
    84 flux rates
    85 forest
    86 forest ecosystems
    87 further signs
    88 high DIN leaching
    89 high inter-annual variation
    90 hydrological fluxes
    91 hydrological model
    92 hydrology
    93 important driver
    94 infestation
    95 input peak
    96 inter-annual variation
    97 intervals
    98 karst aquifers
    99 karst watersheds
    100 karstified areas
    101 layer C/N ratios
    102 leaching
    103 leaching rate
    104 leaf N content
    105 low residence time
    106 magnitude
    107 major source
    108 melt
    109 mineralization
    110 mixed beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) spruce forest
    111 model
    112 months
    113 nitrate leaching rates
    114 nitrogen deposition
    115 nitrogen leaching
    116 non-karst watersheds
    117 organic layer C/N ratios
    118 output
    119 output events
    120 output rate
    121 overall magnitude
    122 patterns
    123 peak
    124 period
    125 plots
    126 precipitation
    127 proximity
    128 pulses
    129 quick response time
    130 rate
    131 ratio
    132 residence time
    133 response time
    134 saturation
    135 seepage water
    136 shallow Leptosols
    137 signs
    138 small-scale bark beetle infestation
    139 snow accumulation
    140 snow cover effects
    141 snow melt
    142 soil hydrology
    143 soil types
    144 source
    145 spring
    146 spruce forest
    147 study
    148 study period
    149 temporal patterns
    150 throughfall
    151 time
    152 total annual precipitation
    153 types
    154 variation
    155 water
    156 watersheds
    157 winter months
    158 year of DIN
    159 year of DON
    160 years
    161 years 2003
    162 years 2004
    163 schema:name Nitrogen Leaching of Two Forest Ecosystems in a Karst Watershed
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