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Forests 2015, 6(4), 973-991; doi:10.3390/f6040973

Available Nitrogen and Responses to Nitrogen Fertilizer in Brazilian Eucalypt Plantations on Soils of Contrasting Texture

1
Fibria S.A., Aracruz CEP: 29197-900, Brazil
2
Department of Forest Science, Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture (ESALQ), University of São Paulo (USP), Piracicaba CEP:13418-900, Brazil
3
CSIRO, Private Bag 12, Hobart TAS 7001, Australia
4
Forest Science and Research Institute (IPEF), Piracicaba, CEP: 13400-970, Brazil
5
Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
6
Suzano, Itapetininga CEP: 18207-780, Brazil
7
Department of Forest Science, "Julio de Mesquita Filho" Universidade Estadual Paulista, Botucatu CEP: 18603-970, Brazil
8
Mathematics, Statistics and Chemistry Department, Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture (ESALQ), University of São Paulo (USP), Piracicaba CEP:13418-900, Brazil
9
Duratex, Agudos CEP: 17120-000, Brazil
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Reynaldo Campos Santana
Received: 22 December 2014 / Revised: 11 March 2015 / Accepted: 19 March 2015 / Published: 2 April 2015
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Abstract

Eucalyptus plantations have seldom responded to N fertilization in tropical and subtropical regions of Brazil. This implies that rates of N mineralization have been adequate to supply tree needs. However, subsequent crop rotations with low N fertilization may result in declining concentrations of organic and potentially mineralizable N (N0), and consequent loss of wood productivity. This study investigated (a) in situ N mineralization and N0 in soils of eucalypt plantations in São Paulo state, Brazil; (b) tree growth responses to N fertilizer applied 6–18 months after planting; and (c) the relationships between N0, other soil attributes and tree growth. We established eleven N fertilizer trials (maximum 240 kg ha−1 of N) in E. grandis and E. grandis x urophylla plantations. The soil types at most sites were Oxisols and Quartzipsamments, with a range of organic matter (18 to 55 g kg−1) and clay contents (8% to 67%) in the 0–20 cm layer. Concentrations of N0 were measured using anaerobic incubation on soil samples collected every three months (different seasons). The samples collected in spring and summer had N0 140–400 kg ha−1 (10%–19% total soil N), which were best correlated with soil texture and organic matter content. Rates of in situ net N mineralization (0–20 cm) ranged from 100 to 200 kg ha−1 year−1 and were not correlated with clay, total N, or N0. These high N mineralization rates resulted in a low response to N fertilizer application during the early ages of stand growth, which were highest on sandy soils. At the end of the crop rotation, the response to N fertilizer was negligible and non-significant at all sites. View Full-Text
Keywords: forest; productivity; potentially mineralizable N; sustainability; fertilizer application; nutrition forest; productivity; potentially mineralizable N; sustainability; fertilizer application; nutrition
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

Pulito, A.P.; Leonardo de Moraes Gonçalves, J.; Smethurst, P.J.; Junior, J.C.A.; Alcarde Alvares, C.; Henrique Tertulino Rocha, J.; Hübner, A.; Fabiano de Moraes, L.; Miranda, A.C.; Kamogawa, M.Y.; Gava, J.L.; Chaves, R.; Silva, C.R. Available Nitrogen and Responses to Nitrogen Fertilizer in Brazilian Eucalypt Plantations on Soils of Contrasting Texture. Forests 2015, 6, 973-991.

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