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Forests 2015, 6(3), 636-649; doi:10.3390/f6030636

Influence of Tree Spacing on Soil Nitrogen Mineralization and Availability in Hybrid Poplar Plantations

1
Co-Innovation Center for Sustainable Forestry in Southern China, Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing 210037, China
2
College of Forestry, Henan University of Science and Technology, Luoyang 471023, China
3
Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74048, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Heinz Rennenberg
Received: 26 January 2015 / Revised: 14 February 2015 / Accepted: 25 February 2015 / Published: 4 March 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nitrogen and Phosphorus Nutrition of Trees and Forests)
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Abstract

Nitrogen (N) availability and mineralization are key parameters and transformation processes that impact plant growth and forest productivity. We hypothesized that suitable plantation spacing can lead to enhanced soil N mineralization and nitrification, which in turn promote tree growth. Studies were conducted to evaluate seasonal patterns of soil inorganic N pools as well as rates of nitrification and N mineralization of three soil layers under four tree spacing treatments. Results showed tree spacing significantly affected annual net N mineralization, whereas inorganic N content in surface soils was significantly affected by tree spacing only during the growing season. The total annual cumulative net N mineralization ranged from 80.3–136.0 mg·kg−1 in the surface soils (0–20 cm), whereas the cumulative net N mineralization of 6 × 6 m and 4.5 × 8 m spacings was 65% and 24% higher than that of the 5 × 5 m, respectively. In general, tree spacing would affect N availability in soil by altering N mineralization rates, while high annual N mineralization was found in soils of low density plantations, with higher rates in square spacing than rectangular spacing. The obtained results suggest that suitable spacing could lead to enhanced N mineralization, but seasonal variation of soil N mineralization may not only be directly related to plantation productivity but also to understory vegetation productivity. View Full-Text
Keywords: poplar; planting density; soil layer; soil inorganic N; N nitrification; seasonal variation poplar; planting density; soil layer; soil inorganic N; N nitrification; seasonal variation
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. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Yan, Y.; Fang, S.; Tian, Y.; Deng, S.; Tang, L.; Chuong, D.N. Influence of Tree Spacing on Soil Nitrogen Mineralization and Availability in Hybrid Poplar Plantations. Forests 2015, 6, 636-649.

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