, Volume 76, Issue 1, pp 141–159 | Cite as

Control of Nitrous Oxide Emissions in European Beech, Norway Spruce and Scots Pine Forests

  • W. BorkenEmail author
  • F. Beese


Elevated nitrogen deposition has increased tree growth, the storage of soil organic matter, and nitrate leaching in many European forests, but little is known about the effect of tree species and nitrogen deposition on nitrous oxide emission. Here we report soil N2O emission from European beech, Scots pine and Norway spruce forests in two study areas of Germany with distinct climate, N deposition and soils. N2O emissions and throughfall input of nitrate and ammonium were measured biweekly during growing season and monthly during dormant season over a 28 months period. Annual N2O emission rates ranged between 0.4 and 1.3 kg N ha−1 year−1 among the stands and were higher in 1998 than in 1999 due to higher precipitation during the growing season of 1998. A 2-way-ANOVA revealed that N2O fluxes were significantly higher (p<0.001) at Solling than at Unterlüß while tree species had no effect on N2O emissions. Soil texture and the amount of throughfall explained together 94% of the variance among the stands, indicating that increasing portions of silt and clay may promote the formation of N2O in wet forest soils. Moreover, cumulative N2O fluxes were significantly correlated (r2 = 0.60, p<0.001) with cumulative NO 3 fluxes at 10 cm depth as an indicator of N saturation, however, the slope of the regression curve indicates a rather weak effect of NO 3 fluxes on N2O emissions. N input by throughfall was not correlated with N2O emissions and only 1.6–3.2% of N input was released as N2O to the atmosphere. Our results suggest that elevated N inputs have little effect on N2O emissions in beech, spruce and pine forests.


N deposition N saturation N2O emission Soil texture Temperate forests Tree species 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aber, J., McDowell, W., Nadelhoffer, K., Magill, A., Berntson, G., Kamakea, M., McNulty, S., Currie, W., Rustad, L., Fernandez, I. 1998Nitrogen saturation in temperate forest ecosystems – Hypotheses revisitedBioScience48921934Google Scholar
  2. Ball, B.C., Smith, K.A., Klemedtsson, L., Brumme, R., Sitaula, B.K., Hansen, S., Prieme, A., MacDonald, J., Horgan, G.W. 1997The influence of soil gas transport properties on methane oxidation in a selection of northern European soilsJ. Geophys. Res.1022330923317CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bollmann, A., Conrad, R. 1998Influence of O2 availability on NO and N2O release by nitrification and denitrification in soilsGlobal Change Biol.4387396CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Borken, W., Brumme, R. 1997Liming practise in temperate forest ecosystems and the effects on CO2N2O and CH4 fluxesSoil Use Manage.13251257Google Scholar
  5. Borken, W., Xu, Y.J., Davidson, E.A., Beese, F. 2002aSite and temporal variation of soil respiration in European beechNorway spruceand Scots pine forestsGlobal Change Biol.812051216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Borken, W., Beese, F., Brumme, R., Lamersdorf, N. 2002bLong-term reduction in nitrogen and proton inputs did not affect atmospheric methane uptake and nitrous oxide emission from a German spruce forest soilSoil Biol. Biochem.3418151819CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Borken, W., Matzner, E. 2004Nitrate leaching in German forest soils: an analysis of long-term monitoring sitesJ. Plant Nutr. Soil Sci.167277283CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Borken, W., Xu, Y.J., Beese, F. 2004Ammoniumnitrate and dissolved organic nitrogen in seepage water as affected by compost amendment to European beechNorway spruceand Scots pine forestsPlant Soil258121134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bowden, R.D., Melillo, J.M., Steudler, P.A., Aber, J.D. 1991Effects of nitrogen fertilization on annual nitrous oxide fluxes from temperate forest soils in the northeastern United StatesJ. Geophys. Res.9693219328Google Scholar
  10. Brumme, R., Beese, F. 1992Effects of liming and nitrogen fertilization on emissions of CO2N2O from a temperate forestJ. Geophys. Res.97851858Google Scholar
  11. Brumme, R., Borken, W., Finke, S. 1999Hierarchical control on nitrous oxide emission in forest ecosystemsGlobal Biogeochem. Cycles1311371148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Butterbach-Bahl, K., Gasche, R., Willibald, G., Papen, H. 2002aExchange of N-gases at the Höglwald forest – a summaryPlant Soil240117123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Butterbach-Bahl, K., Breuer, L., Gasche, R., Willibald, G., Papen, H. 2002bExchange of trace gases between soils and the atmosphere in Scots pine forest ecosystems of the northeastern German lowlands 1. Fluxes of N2O, NO/NO2 and CH4 at forest sites with different N-depositionFor. Ecol. Manage.167123134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Davidson, E.A. 1992Sources of nitric oxide and nitrous oxide following wetting of dry soilSoil Sci. Soc. Am. J.5695102Google Scholar
  15. Davidson, E.A., Keller, M., Erickson, H.E., Verchot, L.V., Veldkamp, E. 2000Testing a conceptual model of soil emissions of nitrous and nitric oxidesBioscience50667680Google Scholar
  16. FAO1998World reference base for soil resourcesFAO, World Soil Resources Report No. 84Rome, ItalyGoogle Scholar
  17. Firestone, M.K., Davidson, E.A. 1989Microbiological basis of NO and N2O production and consumption in soilAndreae, M.O.Schimel, D.S. eds. Exchange of Trace Gases between Terrestrial Ecosystems and the AtmosphereJohn Wiley and SonsNew York721Google Scholar
  18. Granli T. and Bøckman O.C. 1994. Nitrous oxide from agriculture. Norw. J. Agr. Sci. 12.Google Scholar
  19. IPCC2001Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate ChangeCambridge University PressCambridgeGoogle Scholar
  20. Klemedtsson, L., Kasimir-Klemedtsson, A., Moldan, F., Weslien, P. 1997Nitrous oxide emission from Swedish forest soils in relation to liming and simulated increased N-depositionBiol. Fertil. Soils25290295CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. König N. and Fortmann H. 1996. Probenvorbreitungs-, Untersuchungs- und Elementbestimmungsmethoden des Umweltanalytik-Labors der Niedersächsischen Forstlichen Versuchsanstalt und des Zentrallabors des Forschungszentrums Waldökosysteme. Ber. Forschungszentr. Waldökosysteme, Reihe B, Bd. 46–47.Google Scholar
  22. Li, C.S., Aber, J., Stange, F., Butterbach-Bahl, F., Papen, H. 2000A process-oriented model of N2O and NO emissions from forest soils: 1. Model developmentJ. Geophys. Res. Atmos.10543694384CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Loftfield, N., Flessa, H., Augustin, J., Beese, F. 1997Automated gas chromatographic system for rapid analysis of the atmospheric trace gases methanecarbon dioxideand nitrous oxideJ. Environ. Qual.26560564Google Scholar
  24. Matzner, E., Zuber, T., Lischeid, G. 2004aResponse of soil solution chemistry and solute fluxes to changing deposition ratesMatzner, E. eds. Biogeochemistry of forested catchments in a changing environment: a German case study. Ecological StudiesSpringer VerlagHeidelberg339360Google Scholar
  25. Matzner, E., Köstner, B., Lischeid, G. 2004bBiogeochemistry of two forested catchments in a changing environment: a synthesisMatzner, E. eds. Biogeochemistry of Forested Catchments in a Changing Environment: A German Case Study. Ecological StudiesSpringer VerlagHeidelberg457489Google Scholar
  26. Papen, H., Butterbach-Bahl, K. 1999A 3-year continuous record of nitrogen trace gas fluxes from untreated and limed soil of a N-saturated spruce and beech forest ecosystem in Germany - 1. N2O emissionsJ Geophys. Res. Atmos.1041848718503CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. UBA 2003. Deutsches Treibhausgasinventar 1990–2001. Nationaler Inventarbericht 2003. Umweltbundesamt, Berlin.Google Scholar
  28. Venterea, R.T., Groffman, P.M., Verchot, L.V., Magill, A.H., Aber, A.D., Steudler, P.A. 2003Nitrogen oxide gas emissions from temperate forest soils receiving long-term nitrogen inputsGlobal Change Biol.9346357CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Wright, R.F., Alewell, C., Cullen, J.M., Evans, C.D., Marchetto, A., Moldan, F., Prechtel, A., Rogora, M. 2001Trends in nitrogen deposition and leaching in acid-sensitive streams in EuropeHydrol. Earth Syst. Sci.5299310Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Soil Ecology, BayCEERUniversity of BayreuthBayreuthGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Soil Science and Forest NutritionUniversity of GöttingenGöttingenGermany

Personalised recommendations