Biology and Fertility of Soils

, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 77–82 | Cite as

Nitrogen availability in some Wisconsin forests: comparisons of resin bags and on-site incubations

  • D. Binkley
  • J. Aber
  • J. Pastor
  • K. Nadelhoffer


Estimates of ammonium and nitrate availability in conifer and hardwood forests using an ion exchange resin (IER) bag method and with on-site incubations of soil cores in buried bags were compared. Correlations between the two methods were generally high. Correlation coefficients (r) between IER nitrate and buried-bag mineralized nitrate ranged from 0.87 to 0.92. Both methods also correlated well with aboveground net primary production, litter fall N content, and fine root biomass. The major differences between the methods related to the relative importances of ammonium and nitrate forms of available N. The IER method indicated that both ammonium and nitrate were important on all sites, with nitrate predominating in most soils. The buried-bag results indicated that available N was primarily in the form of nitrate (all ammonium was oxidized), but that nitrate was insignificant on infertile sites.

Key words

Ecosystem production Mineralization Nitrification Ion exchange resin bag method 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aber JD, Melillo JM, Nadelhoffer KN, McClaugherty C, Pastor J (1986) Fine root turnover in forest ecosystems in relation to quantity and form of nitrogen availability: a comparison of two methods. Oecologia 66:317–321Google Scholar
  2. Binkley D (1984) Ion exchange resin bags: factors affecting estimates of nitrogen availability. Soil Sci Soc Am J 48:1181–1184Google Scholar
  3. Binkley D, Matson P (1983) Ion exchange resin bag method for assessing forest soil nitrogen availability. Soil Sci Soc Am J 47:1050–1052Google Scholar
  4. Gibson DJ, Colquhoun IA, Greig-Smith P (1985) A new method for measuring nutrient supply rates in soils using ion exchange resins. In: Fitter AH, Atkinson D, Read D, Usher M (eds) Ecological interactions in soil: plants, microbes and animals. British Ecological Society Special Publication No. 4Google Scholar
  5. Hart SC, Binkley D (1984) Colorimetric interference and recovery of adsorbed ions from ion exchange resins. Comm Soil Sci Plant Anal 15:893–902Google Scholar
  6. Hart SC, Binkley D (1985) Correlations among indices of forest soil nutrient availability in fertilized and unfertilized loblolly pine plantations. Plant and Soil 85:11–21Google Scholar
  7. Keeney DR (1980) Prediction of soil nitrogen availability in forest ecosystems: a literature review. For Sci 26:159–171Google Scholar
  8. Nadelhoffer KJ, Aber JD, Melillo MJ (1983) Leaf-litter production and soil organic matter dynamics along a nitrogen-availability gradient in Southern Wisconsin (USA). Can J For Res 13:12–21Google Scholar
  9. Nadelhoffer KJ, Aber JD, Melillo JM (1984) Seasonal patterns of ammonium and nitrate uptake in nine temperate forest ecosystems. Plant and Soil 80:321–335Google Scholar
  10. Nadelhoffer KJ, Aber JD, Melillo JM (1985) Five roots, net primary production, and soil nitrogen availability: a new hypothesis. Ecology 66:1377–1390Google Scholar
  11. Pastor J, Aber JD, McClaugherty CA (1982) Geology, soils and vegetation of Blackhawk Island, Wisconsin. Amer Midl Nat 108:266–277Google Scholar
  12. Pastor J, Aber JD, Melillo JM (1983) Biomass prediction using generalized allometric regressions for some northeast tree species. For Ecol Mgmt 7:265–274Google Scholar
  13. Pastor J, Aber JD, McClaugherty CA, Melillo JM (1984) Above-ground production and N and P cycling along a nitrogen mineralization gradient on Blackhawk Island, Wisconsin. Ecology 65:256–268Google Scholar
  14. Schnabel RR (1983) Measuring nitrogen leaching with ion exchange resin: a laboratory assessment. Soil Sci Soc Am J 47:1041–1042Google Scholar
  15. Technicon (1973) Nitrate and nitrite in water and wastewater. Industrial Method no. 100-70W. Technicon Instrument Corp., Tarrytown, NY, USAGoogle Scholar
  16. Technicon (1977) Individual/simultaneous determinations of nitrogen and/or phosphorus in BD acid digests. Industrial Method no. 329-74W. Technicon Instrument Corp., Tarrytown, NY, USAGoogle Scholar
  17. Technicon (1978) Ammonia in water and seawater. Industrial Method no. 154-78W/B. Technicon Instrument Corp., Tarrytown, NY, USAGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Binkley
    • 1
  • J. Aber
    • 2
  • J. Pastor
    • 3
  • K. Nadelhoffer
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Forestry and Environmental StudiesDuke UniversityDurhamUSA
  2. 2.Dept. of ForestryUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA
  3. 3.Natural Resources Research InstituteUniversity of MinnesotaDuluthUSA
  4. 4.Ecosystems CenterMarine Biological LaboratoryWoods HoleUSA

Personalised recommendations