Nutrient limitation of plant productivity in scrubby flatwoods: does fire shift nitrogen versus phosphorus limitation?
- 119 Downloads
Differences in the biogeochemistry of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) lead to differential losses and inputs during and over time after fire such that fire may affect nutrient limitation of primary productivity. We conducted a nutrient addition experiment in scrubby flatwoods, a Florida scrub community type, to test the hypothesis that nutrient limitation of primary productivity shifts from N limitation in recently burned sites to P limitation in longer unburned sites. We added three levels of N, P, and N and P together to sites 6 weeks, 8 years, and 20 years postfire and assessed the effects of nutrient addition on above- and belowground productivity and nutrient concentrations. At the community level, nutrient addition did not affect aboveground biomass, but root productivity increased with high N + P addition in sites 8 and 20 years after fire. At the species level, N addition increased leaf biomass of saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) in sites 6 weeks and 20 years postfire, while P addition increased foliar %P and apical shoot growth of scrub oak (Quercus inopina) in sites 8 and 20 years postfire, respectively. Contrary to our hypothesis, nutrient limitation does not appear to shift with time after fire; recently burned sites show little evidence of nutrient limitation, while increased belowground productivity indicates that scrubby flatwoods are co-limited by N and P at intermediate and longer times after fire.
KeywordsFlorida Foliar nutrients Quercus inopina Root ingrowth cores Serenoa repens Soil nutrients
We thank S. Alvarez-Clare, P. Bohlen, T. Bostic, R. Burnett, K. Earnshaw, J. Lange, N. Johnson, O. E. Martin, N. Motzer, A. Peterson, H. Price, A. Rivero, M. Steenson, O. Takano, J. Tucker, M. Vasconcelos, O. Vasquez, and A. Williams for help with field and/or lab work. We thank X. Walker for statistical advice. We owe our special thanks to Charlotte Schafer for help with both field and lab work. This manuscript was improved by comments from the associate editor, Dr. Carissa Wonkka, and two anonymous reviewers. This research was funded in part by a Florida Native Plant Society Endowment Fund Grant to J. Schafer.
- Abrahamson WG, Johnson AF, Layne JN, Peroni PA (1984) Vegetation of the Archbold Biological Station, Florida: an example of the southern Lake Wales Ridge. Fla Sci 47:209–250Google Scholar
- Berry DM, Menges ES (1997) Post-fire changes in resource limitation of Florida scrub plants. In: Proceedings—fire effects on rare and endangered species and habitat conference, pp 197–201Google Scholar
- Brown RB, Stone EL, Carlisle VW (1990) Soils. In: Myers RL, Ewel JJ (eds) Ecosystems of Florida. University of Central Florida Press, Orlando, pp 35–69Google Scholar
- Chapin FS III, Matson PA, Mooney HA (2002) Principles of terrestrial ecosystem ecology. Springer-Verlag, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Iverson LR, Hutchinson TF (2002) Soil temperature and moisture fluctuations during and after prescribed fire in mixed-oak forests, USA. Nat Area J 22:296–304Google Scholar
- Myers RL (1990) Scrub and high pine. In: Myers RL, Ewel JJ (eds) Ecosystems of Florida. University of Central Florida Press, Orlando, pp 150–193Google Scholar
- Schafer JL (2010) Effects of fire on nutrient availability and limitation in Florida scrub ecosystems. Dissertation, University of FloridaGoogle Scholar
- Schafer JL, Mack MC (2013) Effects of time-since-fire on soil nutrient dynamics in Florida scrubby flatwoods. Fla Sci 76:417–435Google Scholar
- Seiler TJ, Rasse DP, Li J, Dijkstra P, Anderson HP, Johnson DP, Powell TL, Hungate BA, Hinkle CR, Drake BG (2009) Disturbance, rainfall, and constrasting species responses mediated aboveground biomass response to 11 years of CO2 enrichment in a Florida scrub-oak ecosystem. Glob Change Biol 15:356–367CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Wright SJ, Yavitt JB, Wurzburger N, Turner BL, Tanner EVJ, Sayer EJ, Santiago LS, Kaspari M, Hedin LO, Harms KE, Garcia MN, Corre MD (2001) Potassium, phosphorus, or nitrogen limit root allocation, tree growth, or litter production in a lowland tropical forest. Ecology 92:1616–1625CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Wunderlin RP, Hansen BF (2011) Guide to the vascular plants of Florida, 3rd edn. University Press of Florida, GainesvilleGoogle Scholar