Biogeochemistry

, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 169–187

Plant-soil Interactions in Deserts

Authors

  • William H. Schlesinger
    • Department of BotanyDuke University
    • Division of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Nicholas School of the EnvironmentDuke University
  • Adrienne M. Pilmanis
    • Department of BotanyDuke University
Article

DOI: 10.1023/A:1005939924434

Cite this article as:
Schlesinger, W.H. & Pilmanis, A.M. Biogeochemistry (1998) 42: 169. doi:10.1023/A:1005939924434

Abstract

Geostatistical analyses show that the distribution of soil N, P and K is strongly associated with the presence of shrubs in desert habitats. Shrubs concentrate the biogeochemical cycle of these elements in ‘islands of fertility’ that are localized beneath their canopies, while adjacent barren, intershrub spaces are comparatively devoid of biotic activity. Both physical and biological processes are involved in the formation of shrub islands. Losses of semiarid grassland in favor of invading shrubs initiate these changes in the distribution of soil nutrients, which may promote the further invasion and persistence of shrubs and cause potential feedbacks between desertification and the Earth's climate system.

aridisolsdesertificationerosiongeostatisticsLarrea tridentatanitrogenphosphorusProsopis glandulosasoil heterogeneity

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998