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Net nitrogen mineralization and net nitrification along a tropical forest-to-pasture chronosequence

Marisa C. Piccolo, Christopher Neill and Carlos C. Cerri
Plant and Soil
Vol. 162, No. 1 (May (I) 1994), pp. 61-70
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/42939523
Page Count: 10
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Net nitrogen mineralization and net nitrification along a tropical forest-to-pasture chronosequence
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Abstract

Soil inorganic nitrogen pools, net mineralization and net nitrification rates were compared during the dry season along a chronosequence of upland (terra firme) forest, 3-, 9- and 20-year-old pastures in the western Brazilian Amazon Basin state of Rondônia to investigate the influence of forest conversion to pasture on soil nitrogen cycles. Surface soil (0 to 10 cm) from forest had larger extractable inorganic nitrogen pools than pasture soils. In the forest, $NO_3^ - $ pools equaled or exceeded $NH_4^ + $ pools, while pasture inorganic N pools consisted almost exclusively of $NH_4^ + $. Rates of net N mineralization and net nitrification in seven - day laboratory incubations were higher in the seven - day forest than in the pastures. Net N mineralization rates did not differ significantly among different-aged pastures, but net nitrification rates were significantly lower in the 20-year-old pasture. Higher net N mineralization and net nitrification rates were measured in laboratory and in situ incubations of sieved soil, compared with in situ incubations of intact soil cores. Rates calculated in seven-day incubations were higher than determined by longer incubations. Sieving may increase N mineralization and/or decrease N immobilization compared with intact cores. We concluded that 7-day laboratory incubation of sieved soil was the most useful index for comparing N availability across the chronosequence of forest and pasture sites. High net nitrification rates in forest soils suggest a potential for $NO_3^ - $ losses either through leaching or gaseous emissions.

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