Canadian Forest Service Publications

Nutrient concentrations and nitrogen mineralization in forest floors of single species conifer plantations in coastal British Columbia. 2000. Prescott, C.E.; Vesterdal, L.; Pratt, J.; Venner, K.H.; de Montigny, L.M.; Trofymow, J.A. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 30: 1341-1352.

Year: 2000

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 5514

Language: English

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We examined the extent to which nutrient concentrations and C and N mineralization rates in forests floors under different tree species are predictable from the chemistry of foliar litter and its rate of decomposition. We studied replicated single species plantations of western redcedar (Thuja plicata Donn ex D. Don), western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla (Raf.) Sarg.), Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco), and Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carr.) at four locations. Nutrient concentrations in forest floors correlated poorly with litter nutrient concentrations; the only significant relationships were for Ca and K. Nitrogen mineralization correlated weakly with forest floor C/N ratio, and differed more among sites than among species. None of the litter chemistry parameters were related to net N mineralization rates. Decomposition was fastest in hemlock litter, intermediate in Douglas-fir litter and lowest in cedar litter. Litter also decomposed more rapidly on hemlock forest floors than on cedar forest floors. Rates of N mineralization in the forest floors were not related to rates of decomposition of foliar litter. Differences among sites in N mineralization rates were related to the understory vegetation composition, particularly the amount of the ericaceous shrub salal, which in turn was related to slope position. These site factors appeared to override the effect of tree species on rates of N mineralization.