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N saturation symptoms in chaparral catchments are not reversed by prescribed fireAuthor(s): T. Meixner; Mark E. Fenn; P. Wohlgemuth; M. Oxford; P. Riggan
Source: Environmental Science and Technology 40(9):2887-2894
Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
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DescriptionFire is a critical ecosystem process in many landscapes and is particularly dominant in the chaparral shrublands of southern California which are also exposed to high levels of atmospheric N deposition. Few studies have addressed the combined effects of these two disturbance factors. In this study we evaluate the hydrologic and biogeochemical response of a control and a prescribed burn catchment over a 15-year period. Streamwater nitrate concentrations and export in the burned catchment were higher than those in the unburned catchment for 7-10 years after the burn and concentrations remained high in both catchments during the entire study. Therefore, fire is not an effective mitigation tool for N deposition in these semi-arid systems. Additionally, the extended N export in this system indicates that chaparral ecosystems do not recover their N retention capabilities as rapidly as humid systems do when subjected to disturbance.
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CitationMeixner, T.; Fenn, Mark E.; Wohlgemuth, P.; Oxford, M.; Riggan, P. 2006. N saturation symptoms in chaparral catchments are not reversed by prescribed fire. Environmental Science and Technology 40(9):2887-2894
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