Climate change decreases nitrogen pools and mineralization rates in northern hardwood forests

Jorge Durán, Jennifer L. Morse, Peter M. Groffman, John L. Campbell, Lynn M. Christenson, Charles T Driscoll, Timothy J. Fahey, Melany C. Fisk, Gene E. Likens, Jerry M. Melillo, Myron J. Mitchell, Pamela H. Templer, Matthew A. Vadeboncoeur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Nitrogen (N) supply often limits the productivity of temperate forests and is regulated by a complex mix of biological and climatic drivers. In excess, N is linked to a variety of soil, water, and air pollution issues. Here, we use results from an elevation gradient study and historical data from the longterm Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study (New Hampshire, USA) to examine relationships between changes in climate, especially during winter, and N supply to northern hardwood forest ecosystems. Low elevation plots with less snow, more soil freezing, and more freeze/thaw cycles supported lower rates of N mineralization than high elevation plots, despite having higher soil temperatures and no consistent differences in soil moisture during the growing season. These results are consistent with historical analyses showing decreases in rates of soil N mineralization and inorganic N concentrations since 1973 that are correlated with long-term increases in mean annual temperature, decreases in annual snow accumulation, and a increases in the number of winter thawing degree days. This evidence suggests that changing climate may be driving decreases in the availability of a key nutrient in northern hardwood forests, which could decrease ecosystem production but have positive effects on environmental consequences of excess N.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere01251
JournalEcosphere
Volume7
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016

Fingerprint

hardwood forests
snow
mineralization
soil water
climate change
winter
ecosystems
freeze-thaw cycles
soil air
nitrogen
air pollution
soil pollution
water pollution
temperate forests
heat sums
thawing
forest ecosystems
soil temperature
soil
freeze-thaw cycle

Keywords

  • Carbon
  • Global change
  • Microbial activity mineralization
  • Nitrification
  • Nitrogen
  • Soil frost

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology

Cite this

Durán, J., Morse, J. L., Groffman, P. M., Campbell, J. L., Christenson, L. M., Driscoll, C. T., ... Vadeboncoeur, M. A. (2016). Climate change decreases nitrogen pools and mineralization rates in northern hardwood forests. Ecosphere, 7(3), [e01251]. https://doi.org/10.1002/ecs2.1251

Climate change decreases nitrogen pools and mineralization rates in northern hardwood forests. / Durán, Jorge; Morse, Jennifer L.; Groffman, Peter M.; Campbell, John L.; Christenson, Lynn M.; Driscoll, Charles T; Fahey, Timothy J.; Fisk, Melany C.; Likens, Gene E.; Melillo, Jerry M.; Mitchell, Myron J.; Templer, Pamela H.; Vadeboncoeur, Matthew A.

In: Ecosphere, Vol. 7, No. 3, e01251, 01.03.2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Durán, J, Morse, JL, Groffman, PM, Campbell, JL, Christenson, LM, Driscoll, CT, Fahey, TJ, Fisk, MC, Likens, GE, Melillo, JM, Mitchell, MJ, Templer, PH & Vadeboncoeur, MA 2016, 'Climate change decreases nitrogen pools and mineralization rates in northern hardwood forests', Ecosphere, vol. 7, no. 3, e01251. https://doi.org/10.1002/ecs2.1251
Durán, Jorge ; Morse, Jennifer L. ; Groffman, Peter M. ; Campbell, John L. ; Christenson, Lynn M. ; Driscoll, Charles T ; Fahey, Timothy J. ; Fisk, Melany C. ; Likens, Gene E. ; Melillo, Jerry M. ; Mitchell, Myron J. ; Templer, Pamela H. ; Vadeboncoeur, Matthew A. / Climate change decreases nitrogen pools and mineralization rates in northern hardwood forests. In: Ecosphere. 2016 ; Vol. 7, No. 3.
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