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Nitrogen and Phosphorus Effects on Secondary Succession Dynamics on a Semi-Arid Sagebrush Site

Terry McLendon and Edward F. Redente
Ecology
Vol. 72, No. 6 (Dec., 1991), pp. 2016-2024
Published by: Wiley
DOI: 10.2307/1941556
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1941556
Page Count: 9
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Nitrogen and Phosphorus Effects on Secondary Succession Dynamics on a Semi-Arid Sagebrush Site
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Abstract

A sagebrush steppe community in northwestern Colorado was disturbed in 1984 and subjected to annual applications of nitrogen and phosphorus, and successional responses were studied over a 5-yr period. Phosphorus was not found to be significant but nitrogen did significantly affect succession for all years except the first. Three seral groups developed on the non-fertilized plots, the first two dominated by annuals and lasting 3 yr, the third transitional and dominated by perennials. The addition of N altered this successional pattern by allowing annuals to remain as site dominants through the 5th yr. Results of this study suggest that dominance of a site by annuals in early stages of secondary succession is related to high nutrient availability.

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