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Evidence for nitrogen saturation in the San Bernardino Mountains in southern CaliforniaAuthor(s): Mark A. Fenn; Mark A. Poth; Dale W. Johnson
Source: Forest Ecology and Management 82:211-230
Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
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DescriptionElevated N deposition has occurred in the Los Angeles Basin in southern California for at least the last 40 years. Elevated streamwater NO; fluxes and high nitric oxide (NO) fluxes from soil, indicators of N saturation, have recently been reported for chaparral watersheds exposed to chronic N deposition in the San Gabriel Mountains north/northeast of Los Angeles. A number of nutritional and edaphic parameters across a deposition gradient in the San Bernardino Mountains (SBM) support the hypothesis that the mixed conifer forest in the western end of the range is also N saturated. Concentrations of NO3- in the soil solution or in soil extracts during the summer months were 14 to 44 times higher at Camp Paivika (CP), a western high N deposition site, than at Camp Osceola (CAO) or Barton Flats (BF), eastern low-pollution sites. Accumulation of NO3- in foliage of bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum var. pubescens Underw.) and overstory species was also much greater at CP than at CA0 and a site near BF. Nitric oxide fluxes in mid-August from relatively dry soil at CP were ca. 20 times higher than for typical forests in North America. Nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions, on the other hand, were low in the SBM sites. However, emissions of NO and N2O were several-fold higher at CP than at BF, a relatively low-pollution site. High NO emissions from otherwise undisturbed and well-drained forest soils of the western US may prove useful as a diagnostic indicator of N saturation. Nitrogen mineralization was greater at CP and Dogwood (high-pollution sites) than at CA0 and Heartbar (low-pollution sites).
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CitationFenn, Mark A.; Poth, Mark A.; Johnson, Dale W. 1996. Evidence for nitrogen saturation in the San Bernardino Mountains in southern California. Forest Ecology and Management 82:211-230
KeywordsNitrogen trace gases, nitrate accumulation, nutrient ratio
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