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Forests 2016, 7(11), 270; doi:10.3390/f7110270

Understanding the Fate of Applied Nitrogen in Pine Plantations of the Southeastern United States Using 15N Enriched Fertilizers

Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation, Virginia Polytechnic Institution and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Scott X. Chang and Xiangyang Sun
Received: 29 August 2016 / Revised: 2 November 2016 / Accepted: 5 November 2016 / Published: 11 November 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrient Cycling and Plant Nutrition in Forest Ecosystems)
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Abstract

This study was conducted to determine the efficacy of using enhanced efficiency fertilizer (EEFs) products compared to urea to improve fertilizer nitrogen use efficiency (FNUE) in forest plantations. All fertilizer treatments were labeled with 15N (0.5 atom percent) and applied to 100 m2 circular plots at 12 loblolly pine stands (Pinus taeda L.) across the southeastern United States. Total fertilizer N recovery for fertilizer treatments was determined by sampling all primary ecosystem components and using a mass balance calculation. Significantly more fertilizer N was recovered for all EEFs compared to urea, but there were generally no differences among EEFs. The total fertilizer N ecosystem recovery ranged from 81.9% to 84.2% for EEFs compared to 65.2% for urea. The largest amount of fertilizer N recovered for all treatments was in the loblolly pine trees (EEFs: 38.5%–49.9%, urea: 34.8%) and soil (EEFs: 30.6%–38.8%, urea: 28.4%). This research indicates that a greater ecosystem fertilizer N recovery for EEFs compared to urea in southeastern pine plantations can potentially lead to increased FNUE in these systems. View Full-Text
Keywords: 15N; forest fertilization; nitrogen cycle; plantation forestry; enhanced efficiency fertilizers 15N; forest fertilization; nitrogen cycle; plantation forestry; enhanced efficiency fertilizers
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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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Raymond, J.E.; Fox, T.R.; Strahm, B.D. Understanding the Fate of Applied Nitrogen in Pine Plantations of the Southeastern United States Using 15N Enriched Fertilizers. Forests 2016, 7, 270.

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