Ecosystems

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 254–267 | Cite as

Spring-water Nitrate Increased with Removal of Livestock Grazing in a California Oak Savanna

  • Randall D. Jackson
  • Barbara Allen-Diaz
  • Lawrence G. Oates
  • Kenneth W. Tate
Article

Abstract

We characterized spatial and temporal changes in nitrate concentrations of the leachate from annual grasslands and subsequently emergent spring-waters and tested the effect of livestock grazing removal on them. Nitrate patterns indicated that annual grassland soils are a likely N source to spring-fed wetlands, which appear to intercept and transform N along its hydrologic path from upland soils to spring-fed, headwater streams. Aboveground biomass and soil N extractions suggested that removal of livestock grazing from these wetlands impaired this function by allowing dead plant material to accumulate inhibiting plant production (hence, plant N demand), resulting in elevated stream-water nitrate (NO3) concentrations. Nitrous oxide (N2O) fluxes indicated that grazing removal may increase the relative importance of this N-loss pathway. Microbial biomass varied with season but was not affected by grazing treatments suggesting that N2O losses were related to differences in NO3 availability rather than grazing effects on microbial community composition or their activity. Spring-fed wetlands provide important ecosystem services such as plant uptake and denitrification at transition zones between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. These N-retention and transformation functions may be enhanced through biomass harvesting by livestock.

Keywords

water quality wetlands nitrogen loss livestock grazing mixed effects modeling, Mediterranean ecosystems 

References

  1. Allen-Diaz B, Jackson RD. 2000. Grazing effects on spring ecosystem vegetation of California’s hardwood rangelands. J Range Manage 53:215–20Google Scholar
  2. Allen-Diaz B, Jackson RD, Fehmi JS. 1998. Detecting channel morphology change in California’s hardwood rangeland spring ecosystems. J Range Manage 51:514–8Google Scholar
  3. Allen-Diaz B, Bartolome JW, McClaran MP. 1999. California oak savanna. In: Anderson RC, Fralish JS, Baskin JM, Eds. Savannas, barrens, and rock outcrop plant communities of North America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p 322–42Google Scholar
  4. Angier JT, McCarty GW, Rice CP, Bialek K. 2002. Influence of a riparian wetland on nitrate and herbicides exported from an agricultural field. J Agric Food Chem 50:4424–9CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Armour CL, Duff DA, Elmore W. 1991. The effects of livestock grazing on riparian and stream ecosystems. Fisheries 16:7–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Beck T, Joergensen RG, Kandeler E, Makeschin F, Nuss E, Oberholzer HR, Scheu S. 1997. An inter-laboratory comparison of ten different ways of measuring soil microbial biomass C. Soil Biol Biochem 29:1023–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Belsky AJ, Matzke A, Uselman S. 1999. Survey of livestock influences on stream and riparian ecosystems in the western United States. J Soil Water Conserv 54:419–431Google Scholar
  8. Borin M, Bigon E. 2002. Abatement of NO3–N concentration in agricultural waters by narrow buffer strips. Environ Pollut 117:165–8CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Bowden WB. 1987. The biogeochemistry of nitrogen in freshwater wetlands. Biogeochemistry 4:313–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Brookes PC, Landman A, Pruden G, Jenkinson DS. 1985. Chloroform fumigation and the release of soil nitrogen: a rapid direct extraction method to measure microbial biomass nitrogen in soil. Soil Biol Biochem 17:837–42Google Scholar
  11. Buckley Y. 2003. Demography and management of the invasive plant species Hypericum perforatum. I. Using multi-level mixed-effects models for characterizing growth, survival and fecundity in a long-term data set. J Appl Ecol 40:481–93Google Scholar
  12. Burnham KP, Anderson DR. 1998. Model selection and inference: a practical information-theoretic approach. Berlin Heidelberg New York: Springer. 353 pGoogle Scholar
  13. Cirmo CP, McDonnell JJ. 1997. Linking the hydrologic and biogeochemical controls of nitrogen transport in near-stream zones of temperate-forested catchments: a review. J Hydrol 199:88–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Clary WP. 1995. Vegetation and soil responses to grazing simulation on riparian meadows. J Range Manage 48:18–25Google Scholar
  15. Cook CW, Stubbendieck J. 1986. Range research: basic problems and techniques. Denver: Society for Range Management. 317 pGoogle Scholar
  16. Crawley MJ. 2002. Statistical computing: an introduction to data analysis using S-Plus. New York: Wiley. 756 pGoogle Scholar
  17. Dahlgren RA, Singer MJ. 1994. Nutrient cycling in managed and non-managed oak woodland-grass ecosystems. Integrated Hardwood Range Management Program, Davis, CAGoogle Scholar
  18. David MB, Gentry LE, Smith KM, Kovacic DA. 1997. Carbon, plant, and temperature control of nitrate removal from wetland mesocosms. Trans Ill State Acad Sci 90:103–112Google Scholar
  19. Davidson EA, Stark JM, Firestone MK. 1990. Microbial production and consumption of nitrate in an annual grassland. Ecology 71:1968–75Google Scholar
  20. Davidson EA, Herman DJ, Schuster A, Firestone MK. 1993. Cattle grazing and oak trees as factors affecting soil emissions of nitric oxide from an annual grassland. In: Harper LA, Peterson G, Baenziger PS, Luxmoore RJ, Eds. Agricultural ecosystem effects on trace gases and global climate change: proceedings of a symposium. ASA special publication no. 55. Madison, WI: American Society of Agronomy: Crop Science Society of America: Soil Science Society of America. p 100–19Google Scholar
  21. Dodds WK, Blair JM, Henebry GM, Koelliker JK, Ramundo R, Tate CM. 1996. Nitrogen transport from tallgrass prairie watersheds. J Environ Qual 25:973–981Google Scholar
  22. Fan AM, Steinberg VE. 1996. Health implications of nitrate and nitrite in drinking water: an update on methemoglobinemia occurrence and reproductive and developmental toxicity. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol 23:35–43CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Fan AM, Willhite CC, Book SA. 1987. Evaluation of the nitrate drinking water standard with reference to infant methemoglobinemia and potential reproductive toxicity. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol 7:135–48CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Firestone MK. 1995. Nutrient cycling in managed and non-managed oak woodland-grass ecosystems. Integrated Hardwood Range Management Program, Davis, CAGoogle Scholar
  25. Firestone MK, Davidson EA. 1989. Microbial basis of NO and N2O production and consumption in soil. In: Andreae MO, Schimel DS (Eds). Exchange of trace gases between terrestrial ecosystems and the atmosphere. New York: Wiley. pp 7–21Google Scholar
  26. Fleischner TL. 1994. Ecological costs of livestock grazing in western North America. Conserv Biol 8:629–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. George MR, Larsen RE, McDougald NK, Tate KW, Gerlach JD, Fulgham KO. 2002. Influence of grazing on channel morphology of intermittent streams. J Range Manage 55:551–7Google Scholar
  28. Goolsby DA, Battaglin WA. 2001. Long-term changes in concentrations and flux of nitrogen in the Mississippi River Basin, USA. Hydrol Process 15:1209–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Groffman PM, Howard G, Gold AJ, Nelson WM. 1996. Microbial nitrate processing in shallow groundwater in a riparian forest. J Environ Qual 25:1309–16Google Scholar
  30. Hanson GC, Groffman PM, Gold AJ. 1994. Denitrification in riparian wetlands receiving high and low groundwater nitrate inputs. J Environ Qual 23:917–22Google Scholar
  31. Hart SC, Firestone MK, Paul EA, Smith JL. 1993. Flow and fate of soil nitrogen in an annual grassland and a young mixed-conifer forest. Soil Biol Biochem 25:431–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Haycock NE, Pinay G. 1993. Groundwater nitrate dynamics in grass and poplar vegetated riparian buffer strips during the winter. J Environ Qual 22:273–8Google Scholar
  33. Hedin LO, von Fischer JC, Ostrom NE, Kennedy BP, Brown MG, Robertson GP. 1998. Thermodynamic constraints on nitrogen transformations and other biogeochemical processes at soil-stream interfaces. Ecology 79:684–703Google Scholar
  34. Herbert FW, Begg EL. 1969. Soils of the Yuba Area, California. County of Yuba, CA, University of California, Davis, 170 pGoogle Scholar
  35. Herman DJ, Halverson LJ, Firestone MK. 2003. Nitrogen dynamics in an annual grassland: oak canopy, climate, and microbial population effects. Ecol Appl 13:593–604Google Scholar
  36. Holland EA, Robertson GP, Greenberg J, Groffman PM, Boone RD, Gosz JR. 1999. Soil CO2, N2O, and CH4 exchange. In: Robertson GP, Coleman DC, Bledsoe CS, Sollins P (Eds). Standard soil methods for long-term ecological research. New York: Oxford University Press, pp 185–201Google Scholar
  37. Holloway JM, Dahlgren RA, Hansen B, Casey WH. 1998. Contribution of bedrock nitrogen to high nitrate concentrations in stream water. Nature 395:785–8Google Scholar
  38. Huang X. 1997. Watershed hydrology, soil, and biogeochemistry in an oak woodland annual grassland ecosystem in the Sierra Foothills, California. University of California, Davis, 326 pGoogle Scholar
  39. Jackson LE, Strauss RB, Firestone MK, Bartolome JW. 1988. Plant and soil nitrogen dynamics in California annual grassland. Plant Soil 110:9–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Johnson DW, Susfalk RB, Dahlgren RA. 1997. Nutrient fluxes in forests of the eastern Sierra Nevada mountains, United States of America. Glob Biogeochem Cycles 11:673–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Johnson DW, Susfalk RB, Dahlgren RA, Caldwell TG, Miller WW. 2001. Nutrient fluxes in a snow-dominated, semi-arid forest: spatial and temporal patterns. Biogeochemistry 55:219–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Kauffman JB, Krueger WC. 1984. Livestock impacts on riparian ecosystems and streamside management implications: a review. J Range Manage 37:430–8Google Scholar
  43. Kauffman JB, Krueger WC, Vavra M. 1983. Impacts of cattle on streambanks in northeastern Oregon. J Range Manage 36:683–5Google Scholar
  44. Larsen RE, Krueger WC, George MR, Barrington MR, Buckhouse JC, Johnson DE. 1998. Viewpoint: livestock influences on riparian zones and fish habitat: Literature classification. J Range Manage 51:661–4Google Scholar
  45. LeCain DR, Morgan JA, Schuman GE, Reeder JD, Hart RH. 2000. Carbon exchange rates in grazed and ungrazed pastures of Wyoming. J Range Manage 53:199–206Google Scholar
  46. Lewis D, Singer MJ, Dahlgren RA, Tate KW. 2000. Hydrology in a California oak woodland watershed: a 17-year study. J Hydrol 240:106–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Livingston GP, Hutchinson GL. 1994. Enclosure-based measurement of trace gas exchange: applications and sources of error. In: Matson PA, Harriss RC, Eds. Methods in ecology: biogenic trace gas emissions from soil and water. London: Blackwell Scientific, p 14–51Google Scholar
  48. Lowrance RR, Todd RL, Asmussen LE. 1984. Nutrient cycling in an agricultural watershed: I. Phreatic movement. J Environ Qual 13:22–7Google Scholar
  49. Matthias AD, Yarger DN, Weinbeck RS. 1978. A numerical evaluation of chamber methods for determining gas fluxes. Geophys Res Lett 5:765–8Google Scholar
  50. McNaughton SJ, Milchunas DG, Frank DA. 1996. How can net primary productivity be measured in grazing ecosystems. Ecology 77:974–7Google Scholar
  51. Mitchell MJ, Driscoll CT, Kahl JS, Likens GE, Murdoch PS, Pardo LH. 1996. Climatic control of nitrate loss from forested watersheds in the northeast United States. Environ Sci Technol 30:2609–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Naiman RJ, Decamps H. 1997. The ecology of interfaces: riparian zones. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 28:621–58Google Scholar
  53. Paine LK, Ribic CA. 2002. Comparison of riparian plant communities under four land management systems in southwestern Wisconsin. Agric Ecosyst Environ 92:93–105Google Scholar
  54. Pardo LH, Driscoll CT, Likens GE. 1995. Patterns of nitrate loss from a chronosequence of clear-cut watersheds. Water Air Soil Pollut 85:1659–1664CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Paul EA, Clark FE. 1996. Soil microbiology and biochemistry. San Diego: Academic. 340 pGoogle Scholar
  56. Peterjohn WT, Correll DL. 1984. Nutrient dynamics in an agricultural watershed: observations on the role of a riparian forest. Ecology 65:1466–75Google Scholar
  57. Peterson BJ, Wollheim WM, Mulholland PJ, Webster JR, Meyer JL, Tank JL, Marti E, Bowden WB, Valett HM, Hershey AE, McDowell WH, Dodds WK, Hamilton SK, Gregory S, Morrall DD. 2001. Control of nitrogen export from watersheds by headwater streams. Science 292:86–90CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  58. Piepho HP, Buchse A, Emrich K. 2003. A hitchhiker’s guide to mixed models for randomized experiments. J Agron Crop Sci 189:310–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Pinheiro JC, Bates DM. 2000. Mixed-effects models in S and S-PLUS. New York: Springer. 528 pGoogle Scholar
  60. Rabalais NN, Turner RE, Wiseman WJ. 2001. Hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico. J Environ Qual 30:320–9PubMedGoogle Scholar
  61. Schimel JP, Jackson LE, Firestone MK. 1989. Spatial and temporal effects of plant-microbial competition for inorganic nitrogen in a California annual grassland. Soil Biol Biochem 21:1059–66Google Scholar
  62. Schoonover JE, Williard KWJ. 2003. Ground water nitrate reduction in giant cane and forest riparian buffer zones. J Am Water Resour Assoc 39:347–54Google Scholar
  63. Silver WL, Herman DJ, Firestone MK. 2001. Dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonium in upland tropical forest soils. Ecology 82:2410–16Google Scholar
  64. Tate KW, Dahlgren RA, Singer MJ, Allen-Diaz B, Atwill ER. 1999. On California rangeland watersheds: timing, frequency of sampling affect accuracy of water quality monitoring. Calif Agric 53:44–8Google Scholar
  65. Tate KW, Nader GA, Lewis DJ, Atwill ER, Connor JM. 2000. Evaluation of buffers to improve the quality of runoff from irrigated pastures. J Soil Water Conserv 55:473–8Google Scholar
  66. Vitousek PM, Aber JD, Howarth RH, Likens GE, Matson PA, Schindler DW, Schlesinger WH, Tilman DG. 1997. Human alteration of the global nitrogen cycle: source and consequences. Ecol Appl 7:737–50Google Scholar
  67. Wendt K. 1999. Determination of nitrate/nitrite by flow injection analysis (low flow method). QuikChem Method 10-107-04-1-A. Lachat Instruments, Milwaukee, WIGoogle Scholar
  68. Williams AE, Lund LJ, Johnson JA, Kabala ZJ. 1998. Natural and anthropogenic nitrate contamination of groundwater in a rural community, California. Environ Sci Technol 32:32–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Woodmansee RG. 1978. Additions and losses of nitrogen in grassland ecosystems. Bioscience 28:448–53.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Randall D. Jackson
    • 1
  • Barbara Allen-Diaz
    • 2
  • Lawrence G. Oates
    • 2
  • Kenneth W. Tate
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of AgronomyUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA
  2. 2.Ecosystem SciencesUniversity of California, BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA
  3. 3.Department of Agronomy and Range ScienceUniversity of California, DavisDavisUSA

Personalised recommendations