Landscape Ecology

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 215–224

Landscape patterns of nitrogen mineralization and nitrification in southern Ohio hardwood forests

  • Sherri Jeakins Morris
  • R.E.J. Boerner


This study quantified nitrogen mineralization and nitrification potentials in soils of hardwood forests of southern Ohio at three spatial scales: (1) the regional scale, represented by four study areas of 90–120 ha separated by 3–65 km, (2) the local scale, represented by three contiguous watersheds within each study area, and (3) the topographic scale, represented by xeric, intermediate, and mesic sites within each watershed, as defined by a GIS-generated Integrated Moisture Index (IMI). Organic C, NO3 pool size, net N mineralization, proportional nitrification, and net nitrification potentials all varied among study sites (i.e. at the regional scale). Using path analysis, we were able to construct scale-independent causal models explaining 30–35% of the variance in organic C and potential net N mineralization and ≥70% of the variance in potential net NO3 production. Site- and scale-specific differences in geology and/or land use history among study sites were likely responsible for the variation not explained by the path analysis. At the local scale, there were significant variations in organic C and inorganic N pool sizes among watersheds within a study site in two of the four study sites. In addition, most parameters we measured varied significantly along the topographic gradient (i.e. with long-term soil moisture availability/IMI). Based on our results, scaling up models of nitrification from plot scale to the regional scale should be straightforward, whereas scaling up organic C storage and N mineralization will require incorporation of independent scaling paradigms at three (or more) spatial scales.

nitrogen mineralization nitrification organic carbon scale Ohio 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sherri Jeakins Morris
    • 1
  • R.E.J. Boerner
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Plant BiologyThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusU.S.A.

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