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Biogeochemistry

, Volume 70, Issue 1, pp 59–69 | Cite as

Long-term behaviour of 15N in an alpine grassland ecosystem

  • Martin H. Gerzabek
  • Georg Haberhauer
  • Michael Stemmer
  • Sabine Klepsch
  • Ernst Haunold
Article

Abstract

Nitrogen dynamics in semi-natural environments is crucial for the development and ecological stability of these systems. The present paper shows the results of the reinvestigation of a 15N-tracer experiment, which was established in the Grossglockner massif in Austria at 2300 m a.s.l. in 1974/1975. We show that large quantities of nitrogen introduced by a single pulse labelling (amounting to approximately 1.7% of the nitrogen in the system) into an alpine grassland remain in the soil–plant system, with only 55% being lost during 27–28 years. In the first 10 cm of the four investigated soil profiles 40% of 15N was recovered, being mainly bound in organic forms. A simple site specific model was established on the basis of the results considering a biological, residual and labile N-pool, the latter being the source for N-losses. By the model a long mean residence time close to 100 years was derived for the remaining 15N.

Alpine grassland Cambisol 15N dynamics N-pools 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin H. Gerzabek
    • 1
    • 2
  • Georg Haberhauer
    • 1
  • Michael Stemmer
    • 2
  • Sabine Klepsch
    • 2
  • Ernst Haunold
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Environmental ResearchARC Seibersdorf researchSeibersdorfAustria
  2. 2.Institute of Soil ResearchUniversity of Natural Resources and Applied Life SciencesViennaAustria ((e-mail
  3. 3.Am Platengrund 5eAustria

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