The Interactions of Organic Nutrients, Soil Nitrogen, and Soil Temperature and Plant Growth and Survival in the Arctic Environment

  • Brent H. McCown
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 29)


As primary producers in an ecosystem, plants act as in situ interfaces between the aerial environment and the soil environment. In this capacity, plants not only convert radiant energy into utilizable chemical energy, fix carbon, and absorb and incorporate soil mineral nutrients, they must also simultaneously integrate these activities between what may be two quite distinct environments which can be sharply delineated at their juncture, the ground surface. One form of this integration between the aerial and edaphic environment is the simultaneous allocation of photosynthate, mainly in the form of carbohydrate, and absorbed minerals. In arctic regions, these relationships are particularly intriguing. Studies have indicated that the lipid and carbohydrate levels and their cycling in some arctic and alpine plants may be of significance in frost tolerance and in the seasonality of growth (by allowing capitalization on the few favorable days in the relatively short growing season; Mooney and Billings, 1960; Bliss, 1962). In addition, the relatively low soil temperatures typical of these regions have been strongly indicated as major factors in limiting growth and survival of plants, especially as far as the availability and utilization of soil nitrogen is concerned (McCown, 1973, 1975).


Soil Temperature Soil Nutrient Organic Nutrient Arctic Environment Niwot Ridge 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1978

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  • Brent H. McCown

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