Plant and Soil

, Volume 93, Issue 1, pp 95–113 | Cite as

Nitrogen availability beneath pure spruce and mixed larch+spruce stands growing on a deep peat

I. Net N mineralization measured by field and laboratory incubations
  • J. C. Carlyle
  • D. C. Malcolm


The growth and N status of Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) are enhanced in the presence of larch (Larix spp.) on deep peat sites where available N levels are low. Field and laboratory incubations demonstrated higher rates of net N mineralization in the presence of larch, all N was present as ammonium with no nitrate being detected throughout the course of the experiment. Differences were not due to moisture or temperature. Most mineralization and maximum treatment differences occured in the 0–3 cm layer, suggesting an influence of larch litter.

Concentrations of N and Ca were highest in forest floor material taken from the larch+ spruce treatment which was consistent with the high rate of mineralizaton for this layer. Postulated reasons for enhanced net mineralization in the presence of larch are substrate quality, the decomposer community, N-fixation, and the mycorrhizosphere.

The findings are of practical significance to the afforestation of deep peat sites with a nutritionally demanding speices such as Sitka spruce.

Key words

Deep peat Field incubation Larch+spruce mixtures Nitrogen mineralization 


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Copyright information

© Martnuse Nijhoff Publishers 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. C. Carlyle
    • 1
  • D. C. Malcolm
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Forestry and Natural ResourcesUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghScotlandUKUK

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