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Forests 2014, 5(4), 643-665; doi:10.3390/f5040643
Article

Nitrogen and Carbon Biogeochemistry in Forest Sites along an Indirect Urban–Rural Gradient in Southeastern Michigan

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Received: 16 January 2014 / Revised: 27 February 2014 / Accepted: 19 March 2014 / Published: 4 April 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest and Wood Vegetation Carbon Stores and Sequestration)
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Abstract

To evaluate the impacts of urbanization on soil and vegetation in protected forest areas, 12 forest sites in Southeastern Michigan USA were studied in an indirect urban–rural gradient. Field study plots were established in forest edge zones of each protected area. Significant findings were that in these edge zones of protected areas: (a) soil nitrogen tended to be greater where surrounding housing density was greater; (b) overstory woody biomass and basal area were greater where surrounding housing density was greater; and (c) the study region overall exhibited low soil carbon content (mean 2.71%) and relatively high soil nitrogen content (mean 0.20%), yielding a surprisingly low surface soil C/N ratio (mean 13.4). Overall, 24 woody plant genera were encountered, with the three genera Acer, Carya and Quercus accounting for 83.7% of total biomass and 74.1% of total basal area. No significant relationships were observed between housing density and soil C/N ratio or between housing density and foliar N. Results indicate that a halo of urban-ecological impacts exists in the landscape of Southeastern Michigan, similar to previously studied linear urban–rural gradients in other regions.
Keywords: human-dominated; landscape; vegetation; biogeochemistry; carbon; nitrogen; urban–rural gradient; C/N ratio human-dominated; landscape; vegetation; biogeochemistry; carbon; nitrogen; urban–rural gradient; C/N ratio
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Kahan, A.Y.; Currie, W.S.; Brown, D.G. Nitrogen and Carbon Biogeochemistry in Forest Sites along an Indirect Urban–Rural Gradient in Southeastern Michigan. Forests 2014, 5, 643-665.

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