Canadian Forest Service Publications

Long-term recovery in the soil profile of 15N from Douglas-fir needles decomposing in the forest floor. 1995. Preston, C.M; Mead, D.J. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 25: 833-837.

Year: 1995

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 4097

Language: English

Availability: Not available through the CFS (click for more information).

Mark record


In order to follow the movement and transformations of litterfall N in a forest ecosystem, Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) foliage labelled with 15N was mixed into the forest floor and left to decompose in steel cylinders of 15 cm diameter x 60 cm length. There were four treatments: 15N-foliage only, foliage plus 200 kg N ha-1 as urea or NH4NO3, and unamended control. The addition of fertilizer N had no significant effects on 15N recovery or distribution in the soil profile. The overall recovery of 15N to 60 cm depth was 53.7%, 24.9% and 19.9% after 1, 3 and 7.5 years. After the first year almost all of the recovered 15N was in the L layer. At three years, a higher proportion was found in the FH layer and by 7.5 years, approximately one-third of the 15N was found in mineral soil horizons. There was very little recovery of 15N in inorganic form (1% or less) after one year; in subsequent years inorganic N was found at background levels. Recoveries in soil after one and three years were similar to those reported for 15N added as inorganic fertilizer in the absence of plant uptake. However very low losses in the next sampling period (3 to 7.5 years) indicated stabilization of 15N in increasingly recalcitrent forms.