, Volume 168-169, Issue 1, pp 327-336

Nutrient cycling in Pinus sylvestris stands in eastern Finland

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Abstract

Nutrient cycling within three Pinus sylvestris stands was studied in eastern Finland. The aim of the study was to determine annual fluxes and distribution of N, P, K, Ca, Mg, Zn, Fe, B, and Al in the research stands. Special emphasis was put on determining the importance of different fluxes, especially the internal cycle within the trees in satisfying the tree nutrient requirements for biomass production. The following nutrient fluxes were included, input; free precipitation and throughfall, output; percolation through soil profile, biological cycle; nutrient uptake from soil, retranslocation within trees, return to soil in litterfall, release by litter decomposition. The distribution of nutrients was determined in above- and belowground tree compartments, in ground and field vegetation, and in soil.

The nitrogen use efficiencies were 181, 211 and 191 g of tree aboveground dry matter produced per g of N supplied by uptake and retranslocation in the sapling, pole stage and mature stands, respectively. Field vegetation was more efficient in nitrogen use than trees. Stand belowground/aboveground and fine root/coarse root biomass ratios decreased with tree age. With only slightly higher fine root biomass, almost three times more nitrogen had to be taken-up from soil for biomass production in the mature stand than in the sapling stand.

The annual input-output balances of most nutrients were positive; throughfall contained more nutrients than was lost in mineral soil leachate. The sulphate flux contributed to the leaching of cations, especially magnesium, from soil in the mature stand.

Retranslocation supplied 17–42% of the annual N, P and K requirements for tree aboveground biomass production. Precipitation and throughfall were important in transferring K and Mg, and also N in the sapling stand. Litterfall was an important pathway for N, Ca, Mg and micro nutrients, especially in the oldest stands.