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Quantitative characterization of field-estimated soil nutrient regimes in the coastal forest Klinka, Karel; Varga, Pal; Chourmouzis, Christine 1999-04-15

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Scientia Silvica Extension Series, Number  24, 1999Quantitative Characterization of Field-estimated Soil NutrientRegimes in the Coastal ForestIntroductionOne of the key factors in the site classification of the biogeoclimatic ecosystem classification is soil nutrient regime.  Soilnutrient regime (SNR) represents  the amount of essential soil nutrients  available to plants over a period of several years.SNRs classes are assessed based on field identifiable (qualitative) criteria, not using quantitative measures.  There havebeen several studies that attempted to quantitatively characterize regional soil nutrient gradients in the Coastal WesternHemlock (CWH) zone.  In the study summarized here, the soils are influenced by a perhumid cool mesothermal climate.The objective of the study was to examine relationships between soil chemical properties and field-estimated SNRs.Study Stands and ProcedureOne hundred and fifty two study stands were selected in seven locations on south-western Vancouver Island over a widerange of sites. The stands were 35 years old and established after cutting old-growth stands, slashburning, and planting.The canopy cover ranged from 40% to 90%.  The SNR of each stand was estimated using an heuristic procedure thatintegrated a number of easily observable soil morphological properties and indicator plants.In each of the study stands, a 0.01 ha sample plot was established. On all sample plots, a composite sample was taken from15 randomly selected points. At each sample point the entire forest floor and the first 30 cm of the mineral soil weresampled. The samples were air-dried, prepared for laboratory analysis, and analysed for the following chemical properties:pH, total C (tC), total N (tN), mineralizable-N (min-N), extractable Ca (eCa), Mg (eMg), K (eK), P (eP), and S (eSO4-S),and C:N ratio was calculated. All properties were expressed as concentration on a dry mass basis.Using the field identified SNR classes, the mean chemical properties for each class were calculated and compared by one-way analysis of variance. Then the chemical measures that differentiate best between field identified SNR classes wereselected and the results were compared to other studies in this zone.Results and DiscussionMost of the forest floor and mineral soil chemical properties showed a trend with the field identified SNR gradient (Table 1,Figure 1 and Figure 2). However, it should be noted that the sample size for very poor sites was quite low (n = 4); therefore,even large differences between very poor soils and soils in the other SNR classes may not be statistically significant.  Forboth forest floor  and mineral soil  pH, tN, and min-N increased and C:N decreased from very poor to very rich soils.Beside the above mentioned properties in the case of forest floor eMg showed a decreasing trend, and for mineral soil tC,eK, and eP showed an increasing trend along the SNR gradient.Mineral soil min-N was the only property for which the mean values in all five SNR classes were significantly different.The mean min-N values increased exponentially across the SNR gradient.  Mineral soil tN distinguished most of the SNRclasses with the exception of very poor which was not significantly different from poor.  On the other hand, forest floor eKand eP (for both mineral soil and forest floor) showed no significant differences between any SNR classes.Table 1.  Means and  standard deviations (in parentheses) of selected forest floor and mineral soil (0 - 30 cm) chemicalproperties for plots stratified by field-identified soil nutrient regimes. Values in the same row with the same lettersuperscript are not significantly different (alpha = 0.05).VP P M R VRn 426891 17 16Forest floorpH 4.0c 4.2bc 4.4b 4.6a 4.6a(0.26) (0.23) (0.29) (0.25) (0.15)Total C (g kg-1) 51.5a 46.1ab 46.1ab 42.3b 44.2ab(1.42) (5.62) (5.82) (3.66) (2.74)Total N (g kg-1)1.11cd 1.15d 1.31bc 1.45b 1.78a(0.11) (0.19) (0.21) (0.25) (0.29)C/N ratio 47a 41a 36b 30c 25c(4.0) (6.2) (5.9) (5.0) (3.3)Mineralizable-N (mg kg-1) 275bc 368c 536bc 709ab 980a(77) (207) (257) (392) (415)Extractable Ca (mg kg-1)2 2483ab 2546a 2989a 2995a 1953b(662) (444) (1414) (1625) (1281)Extractable Mg (mg kg-1) 1128a 878ab 777b 537c 410c(394) (267) (216) (188) (182)Extractable K (mg kg-1) 415a 459a 410a 442a 423a(147) (157) (129) (73) (124)Extractable P (mg kg-1) 56.4a 51.7a 55.3a 65.60a 66.2a(25.2) (23.9) (22.9) (25.9) (27.6)Extractable SO4-S (mg kg-1) 28.2a 28.4a 26.4a 27.1a 27.4a(12.3) (12.1) (10.8) (18.6) (10.4)Sum of extractable Ca, Mg, 4026ab 3884a 4176a 3974a 2776band K (mg kg-1)2 (526) (566) (1495) (1782) (1515)Mineral soilpH 4.4c 4.6bc 4.7b 4.7ab 4.7abc(0.23) (0.23) (0.20) (0.26) (0.28)Total C (g kg-1) 4.75c 6.72c 8.92b 9.66b 12.9a(0.80) (1.51) (2.02) (2.00) (2.30)Total N (g kg-1) 0.19d 0.25d 0.35c 0.44b 0.63a(0.03) (0.06) (0.07) (0.07) (0.12)C/N ratio 26ab 28a 25b 22c 21c(2.1) (3.1) (3.1) (1.5) (1.6)Mineralizable-N (mg kg-1)15e 41d 85c 173b 322a(6) (13) (26) (29) (74)Extractable Ca (mg kg-1)2 43ab 139b 204ab 328a 280ab(23) (78) (137) (373) (405)Extractable Mg (mg kg-1) 35.0a 58.7a 66.4a 62.6a 62.1a(12.2) (29.2) (34.7) (33.1) (35.1)Extractable K (mg kg-1) 21.4d 35.6cd 44.4c 55.5b 74.4a(4.6) (11.0) (15.9) (10.0) (14.8)Extractable P (mg kg-1)2.7a 2.5a 4.3a 6.0a 6.6a(3.6) (1.1) (5.8) (4.3) (2.3)Extractable SO4-S (mg kg-1)8.3d 53.8bc 71.1a 35.2bc 23.2cd(6.4) (53.4) (40.4) (28.6) (21.1)Sum of extractable Ca, Mg, 100ab 233b 315ab 447a 417aband K (mg kg-1)2 (29) (100) (175) (401) (443)Figure 1.  Direct measures of forest floorchemical properties stratified accordingto field-estimated SNRs. Error bar is onestandard error of the mean. VP, P, M, R,and VR are very poor, poor, medium, richand very rich, respectively.Figure 2.  Direct measures of mineral soilchemical properties stratified according tofield-estimated SNRs. Error bar is onestandard error of the mean. VP, P, M, R, andVR are very poor, poor, medium, rich , andvery rich, respectively.G39G33 G33 G30 G35 G39G35G53G2bG16G11G13G16G11G18G17G11G13G17G11G18G18G11G13G39G33 G33 G30 G35 G39G35G37G52G57G44G4fG3G26G3GbG4aG3G4efG4aG10G14GcG13G14G13G15G13G16G13G17G13G18G13G19fG13G39G33 G33 G30 G35 G39G35G37G52G57G44G4fG3G31G3GbG4aG3G4efG4aG10G14GcG13G11G13G13G11G18G14G11G13G14G11G18G15G11G13G39G33 G33 G30 G35 G39G35G26G12G31G3G55G44G57G4cG52G13G14G13G15G13G16G13G17G13G18G13G19fG13G39G33 G33 G30 G35 G39G35G30G4cG51G48G55G44G4fG4cG5dG44G45G4fG48G10G31G3GbG50G4aG3G4efG4aG10G14GcG13G15G13G13G17G13G13G19fG13G13G1bG13G13G14G13G13G13G14G15G13G13G39G33 G33 G30 G35 G39G35G28G5bG57G55G44G46._G57G44G45G4fG48G3G26G44G3GbG50G4aG3G4efG4aG10G14GcG13G14G13G13G13G15G13G13G13G16G13G13G13G17G13G13G13G39G33 G33 G30 G35 G39G35G28G5bG57G55G44G46._G57G44G45G4fG48G3G30G4aG3GbG50G4aG3G4efG4aG10G14GcG13G15G13G13G17G13G13G19fG13G13G1bG13G13G14G13G13G13G14G15G13G13G14G17G13G13G39G33 G33 G30 G35 G39G35G28G5bG57G55G44G46._G57G44G45G4fG48G3G2eG3GbG50G4aG3G4efG4aG10G14GcG13G14G13G13G15G13G13G16G13G13G17G13G13G18G13G13G19fG13G13G39G33 G33 G30 G35 G39G35G28G5bG57G55G44G46._G57G44G45G4fG48G3G33G3GbG50G4aG3G4efG4aG10G14GcG13G15G13G17G13G19fG13G1bG13G36G31G35G39G33 G33 G30 G35 G39G35G28G5bG57G55G44G46._G57G44G45G4fG48G3G36G32G17G10G36G3GbG50G4aG3G4efG4aG10G14GcG13G14G13G15G13G16G13G17G13G36G31G35G39G33 G33 G30 G35 G39G35G36G58G50G3G52G49G3G48G5bG57G55G44G46._G57G44G45G4fG48G3G26G44GfG3G30G4aGfG3G44G51G47G3G2eG3GbG50G4aG3G4efG4aG10G14GcG13G14G13G13G13G15G13G13G13G16G13G13G13G17G13G13G13G18G13G13G13G39G33 G33 G30 G35 G39G35G53G2bG16G11G13G16G11G18G17G11G13G17G11G18G18G11G13G39G33 G33 G30 G35 G39G35G37G52G57G44G4fG3G26G3GbG4aG3G4efG4aG10G14GcG13G15G17G19fG1bG14G13G14G15G14G17G14G19fG39G33 G33 G30 G35 G39G35G37G52G57G44G4fG3G31G3GbG4aG3G4efG4aG10G14GcG13G11G13G13G11G18G14G11G13G39G33 G33 G30 G35 G39G35G26G12G31G3G55G44G57G4cG52G13G18G14G13G14G18G15G13G15G18G16G13G16G18G39G33 G33 G30 G35 G39G35G30G4cG51G48G55G44G4fG4cG5dG44G45G4fG48G10G31G3GbG50G4aG3G4efG4aG10G14GcG13G14G13G13G15G13G13G16G13G13G17G13G13G39G33 G33 G30 G35 G39G35G28G5bG57G55G44G46._G57G44G45G4fG48G3G26G44G3GbG50G4aG3G4efG4aG10G14GcG13G14G13G13G15G13G13G16G13G13G17G13G13G18G13G13G39G33 G33 G30 G35 G39G35G28G5bG57G55G44G46._G57G44G45G4fG48G3G30G4aG3GbG50G4aG3G4efG4aG10G14GcG13G15G13G17G13G19fG13G1bG13G39G33 G33 G30 G35 G39G35G28G5bG57G55G44G46._G57G44G45G4fG48G3G2eG3GbG50G4aG3G4efG4aG10G14GcG13G15G13G17G13G19fG13G1bG13G14G13G13G39G33 G33 G30 G35 G39G35G28G5bG57G55G44G46._G57G44G45G4fG48G3G33G3GbG50G4aG3G4efG4aG10G14GcG13G15G17G19fG1bG36G31G35G39G33 G33 G30 G35 G39G35G28G5bG57G55G44G46._G57G44G45G4fG48G3G36G32G17G10G36G3GbG50G4aG3G4efG4aG10G14GcG13G15G13G17G13G19fG13G1bG13G36G31G35G39G33 G33 G30 G35 G39G35G36G58G50G3G52G49G3G48G5bG57G55G44G46._G57G44G45G4fG48G3G26G44GfG3G30G4aGfG3G44G51G47G3G2eG3GbG50G4aG3G4efG4aG10G14GcG13G14G13G13G15G13G13G16G13G13G17G13G13G18G13G13G19fG13G13Scientia Silvica is published by the Forest Sciences Department,The University of British Columbia, ISSN 1209-952XEditor: Karel Klinka (klinka@interchange.ubc.ca)Research: P?l Varga (pvarga@interchange.ubc.ca) and K. KlinkaProduction and design: Christine Chourmouzis (chourmou@interchange.ubc.ca)Financial support: Forest Renewal British ColumbiaFor more information contact: P?l VargaCopies available from:www.forestry.ubc.ca/klinka orK. Klinka, Forest Sciences Department, UBC,3041-2424 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4The other studies in the CWH zone also found that N-related measures (min-N and tN) distinguish best between fieldidentified SNR classes.  In each study the range of values increased from very poor to very rich, but the present study hadthe highest mean min-N values in all SNR classes compared to the other studies. When the min-N values from the differentstudies are combined, the ranges of values for almost all SNR classes overlapped.The inconsistencies between the studies can be attributed to the use of concentrations  instead of a volume basis forexpressing the amount of min-N, and climatic differences of the study areas.  Using concentrations does not provide a goodindication of the available min-N in the soil for uptake by plants.  Also the C and N concentrations in the soil increase withincreasing precipitation.ConclusionsMineral soil min-N was the only property that differentiated between field identified SNR classes in the study stands.  Otherstudies in the CWH zone also found that min-N and tN are the best measures for a quantitative classification of soilnutrients.  However, there is quite a bit of overlap between soil N concentration values for field identified SNR classes.ReferenceVarga, P. and K. Klinka. 2001. Quantitative characterization of soil nutrient regimes in the CWHvm subzone of coastalBritish Columbia. (unpublished manuscript)

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