UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Impact of Nitrogen Fertilization on Forest Carbon Sequestration and Water Loss in a Chronosequence of Three Douglas-Fir Stands in the Pacific Northwest Dou, Xianming; Chen, Baozhang; Black, T. Andrew; Jassal, Rachhpal S.; Che, Mingliang

Abstract

To examine the effect of nitrogen (N) fertilization on forest carbon (C) sequestration and water loss, we used an artificial neural network model to estimate C fluxes and evapotranspiration (ET) in response to N fertilization during four post-fertilization years in a Pacific Northwest chronosequence of three Douglas-fir stands aged 61, 22 and 10 years old in 2010 (DF49, HDF88 and HDF00, respectively). Results showed that N fertilization increased gross primary productivity (GPP) for all three sites in all four years with the largest absolute increase at HDF00 followed by HDF88. Ecosystem respiration increased in all four years at HDF00, but decreased over the last three years at HDF88 and over all four years at DF49. As a result, fertilization increased the net ecosystem productivity of all three stands with the largest increase at HDF88, followed by DF49. Fertilization had no discernible effect on ET in any of the stands. Consequently, fertilization increased water use efficiency (WUE) in all four post-fertilization years at all three sites and also increased light use efficiency (LUE) of all the stands, especially HDF00. Our results suggest that the effects of fertilization on forest C sequestration and water loss may be associated with stand age and fertilization; the two younger stands appeared to be more efficient than the older stand with respect to GPP, WUE and LUE.

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