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Nutrient Budgets for a Dry Heath Ecosystem in the South of England

S. B. Chapman
Journal of Ecology
Vol. 55, No. 3 (Nov., 1967), pp. 677-689
DOI: 10.2307/2258418
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2258418
Page Count: 13
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Nutrient Budgets for a Dry Heath Ecosystem in the South of England
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Abstract

Some areas of Calluna heathland in the Poole basin of Dorset are described. Estimates of the increased standing crop and accumulation of litter with age are given. The above ground standing crop increases to about 24 000 kg/ha and the accumulation of litter to about 17 000 kg/ha after 35 years. Results showing the accumulations of the major plant nutrients in the standing crop and litter are also presented. These results are discussed in relation to the building, mature and degenerate phases of development of the vegetation. It is shown that relatively little nitrogen or phosphorus is lost from the litter. A nutrient budget sheet has been drawn up for the cycle of heathland growth between consecutive heathland fires. Precipitation is shown to be capable of replacing all but the nitrogen and phosphorus of the nutrients lost by burning. The results obtained from the Dorset heathland sites have been compared with the results of other workers in Scotland and northern England.

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