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Spatial Variation in Nitrogen Availability in Three Successional Plant Communities

Katherine L. Gross, Kurt S. Pregitzer and Andrew J. Burton
Journal of Ecology
Vol. 83, No. 3 (Jun., 1995), pp. 357-367
DOI: 10.2307/2261590
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2261590
Page Count: 11
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Spatial Variation in Nitrogen Availability in Three Successional Plant Communities
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Abstract

1 Spatial variability in soil nitrogen and moisture levels was determined using a geostatistical analysis in a newly abandoned field, a mid-late successional field and a second-growth forest in south-western Michigan. 2 A greater proportion of the total variation for all variates associated with nitrogen availability was spatially dependent in the mid-successional field; the newly abandoned field and forest had similar patterns of spatial dependence in these variates. 3 The distance (range) over which there was spatial dependence was greater in the mid-successional field than the other two communities, indicating a more coarse-grained pattern of spatial heterogeneity in soil nitrogen, particularly in the surface soils (0-5 cm), than in the other two sites. 4 Examination of patterns of spatial dependence using different lag intervals generally gave similar results; though a nested pattern of $\mathrm{NO}_3--N$ availability in the mid-successional field was detected at a finer scale of analysis, indicating spatial variation at multiple scales. 5 The results suggest that patterns of spatial variation in soil nitrogen change over time in successional plant communities, perhaps reflecting changes in the species composition or size of individual plants in these communities.

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