, Volume 13, Issue 8, pp 1215-1226
Date: 30 Sep 2010

Effects of the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid on Nitrogen Losses from Urban and Rural Northern Forest Ecosystems

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Abstract

The objectives of this study were to quantify rates of nitrogen inputs to the forest floor, determine rates of nitrogen losses via leaching and to partition the sources of NO3 from healthy, declining, and salvage or preemptively cut eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) stands in both an urban forest at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston, MA and a rural forest at Harvard Forest in Petersham, MA. Rates of nitrogen inputs (NH4 + and NO3 ) to the forest floor were 4–5 times greater, and rates of nitrogen losses via leachate were more than ten times greater, at the Arnold Arboretum compared to Harvard Forest. Nitrate that was lost via leachate at Harvard Forest came predominantly from atmospheric deposition inputs, whereas NO3 losses at the Arnold Arboretum came predominantly from nitrification. Although our study was limited to one urban and one rural site, our results suggest that current management regimes used to control the hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae), such as salvage cutting, may be reducing nitrogen losses in urban areas due to rapid regrowth of vegetation and uptake of nitrogen by those plants. In contrast, preemptive cutting of trees in rural areas may be leading to proportionately greater losses of nitrogen in those sites, though the total magnitude of nitrogen lost is still smaller than in urban sites. Results of our study suggest that the combination of the hemlock woolly adelgid, nitrogen inputs, and management practices lead to changes in the movement and source of NO3 losses from eastern hemlock forest ecosystems.

Author Contributions

PHT took an active role in all parts of the study, including experimental design, sampling, data analysis, and writing of the manuscript. TMM was involved with sampling, data analysis, and editing of the text.