Nitrogen biogeochemistry in the Adirondack Mountains of New York: Hardwood ecosystems and associated surface waters

Myron J. Mitchell, Charles T. Driscoll, Shreeram Inamdar, Greg G. McGee, Monday O. Mbila, Dudley J. Raynal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Studies on the nitrogen (N) biogeochemistry in Adirondack northern hardwood ecosystems were summarized. Specific focus was placed on results at the Huntington Forest (HFS), Pancake-Hall Creek (PHC), Woods Lake (WL), Ampersand (AMO), Catlin Lake (CLO) and Hennessy Mountain (HM). Nitrogen deposition generally decreased from west to east in the Adirondacks, and there have been no marked temporal changes in N deposition from 1978 through 1998. Second-growth western sites (WL, PHC) had higher soil solution NO3- concentrations and fluxes than the HFS site in the central Adirondacks. Of the two old-growth sites (AMO and CLO), AMO had substantially higher NO3- concentrations due to the relative dominance of sugar maple that produced litter with high N mineralization and nitrification rates. The importance of vegetation in affecting N losses was also shown for N-fixing alders in wetlands. The Adirondack Manipulation and Modeling Project (AMMP) included separate experimental N additions of (NH4)2SO4 at WL, PHC and HFS and HNO3 at WL and HFS. Patterns of N loss varied with site and form of N addition and most of the N input was retained. For 16 lake/watersheds no consistent changes in NO3- concentrations were found from 1982 to 1997. Simulations suggested that marked NO3- loss will only be manifested over extended periods. Studies at the Arbutus Watershed provided information on the role of biogeochemical and hydrological factors in affecting the spatial and temporal patterns of NO3- concentrations. The heterogeneous topography in the Adirondacks has generated diverse landscape features and patterns of connectivity that are especially important in regulating the temporal and spatial patterns of NO3- concentrations in surface waters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)355-364
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2003


  • Acidic deposition
  • Forests
  • Hydrology
  • Water quality
  • Watersheds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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