Plant and Soil

, Volume 80, Issue 3, pp 321–335

Seasonal patterns of ammonium and nitrate uptake in nine temperate forest ecosystems


  • Knute J. Nadelhoffer
    • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • John D. Aber
    • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Jerry M. Melillo
    • Marine Biological LaboratoryThe Ecosystems Center

DOI: 10.1007/BF02140039

Cite this article as:
Nadelhoffer, K.J., Aber, J.D. & Melillo, J.M. Plant Soil (1984) 80: 321. doi:10.1007/BF02140039


Seasonal patterns of net N mineralization and nitrification in the 0–10 cm mineral soil of 9 temperate forest sites were analyzed using approximately monthlyin situ soil incubations. Measured nitrification rates in incubated soils were found to be good estimates of nitrification in surrounding forest soils. Monthly net N mineralization rates and pools of ammonium-N in soil fluctuated during the growing season at all sites. Nitrate-N pools in soil were generally smaller than ammonium-N pools and monthly nitrification rates were less variable than net N mineralization rates. Nitrate supplied most of the N taken up annually by vegetation at 8 of the 9 sites. Furthermore, despite the large fluctuations in ammonium-N pools and monthly net N mineralization, nitrate was taken up at relatively uniform rates during the growing season at most sites.

Key words

AlfisolAmmonificationNitrificationNitrogen mineralizationTemperate forests
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© Martinus Nijhoff/Dr W. Junk Publishers 1984