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Article

Nitrate Uptake from an Aquifer by Two Plantation Forests: Plausibility Strengthened by Process-Based Modelling

1
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Sandy Bay, TAS 7005, Australia
2
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia
3
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Toowoomba, QLD 4350, Australia
4
Australian Bluegum Plantations Pty Ltd., Albany, WA 6330, Australia
5
School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences, University of Melbourne, Richmond, VIC 3121, Australia
6
School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC 3010, Australia
7
McGrath Forestry Services, Shelley, WA 6148, Australia
8
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Wembley, WA 6913, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Herman H. Shugart, Guy R. LaRocque, Weifeng Wang and Vladimir Shanin
Forests 2022, 13(2), 184; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13020184
Received: 10 December 2021 / Revised: 20 January 2022 / Accepted: 22 January 2022 / Published: 26 January 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Simulation Models of the Dynamics of Forest Ecosystems)
Forest plantations can access water from some unconfined aquifers that also contain nitrate at concentrations that could support hydroponic culture, but the separate effects of such additional water and nitrogen availability on tree growth have not hitherto been quantified. We demonstrate these effects using simulation modelling at two contrasting sites supporting Eucalyptus globulus Labill. or Pinus radiata D.Don plantations. The APSIM Eucalyptus and Pinus models simulated plantation growth within 2% of observed growth where the water table was at 4 m depth for eucalypts (height 28 m, MAI 32 m3 ha−1 year−1) and at 23 m for pines (height 37 m, MAI 20 m3 ha−1 year−1). In simulations without an aquifer, observed growth could only be matched using unrealistically high surface soil nitrogen (N) supply, suggesting this is an unlikely mechanism. Simulated aquifer N concentrations, evapotranspiration, and net N mineralization and leaching (emergent properties of modelling) were similar to measured values. These results strengthen the plausibility that aquifer N uptake by plantations could be contributing to tree growth. This hypothesis warrants further research that quantifies these processes at multiple sites. Simulations included growth of herbaceous and tree weed species, and pasture, which demonstrated the utility of the process-based APSIM modelling framework for dynamically simulating carbon, water and N of plantations and other mixed-species systems. View Full-Text
Keywords: APSIM model; ecosystem; groundwater; Pinus; Eucalyptus; nitrogen; water; South Australia APSIM model; ecosystem; groundwater; Pinus; Eucalyptus; nitrogen; water; South Australia
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MDPI and ACS Style

Smethurst, P.J.; McVicar, T.R.; Huth, N.I.; Bradshaw, B.P.; Stewart, S.B.; Baker, T.G.; Benyon, R.G.; McGrath, J.F.; Van Niel, T.G. Nitrate Uptake from an Aquifer by Two Plantation Forests: Plausibility Strengthened by Process-Based Modelling. Forests 2022, 13, 184. https://doi.org/10.3390/f13020184

AMA Style

Smethurst PJ, McVicar TR, Huth NI, Bradshaw BP, Stewart SB, Baker TG, Benyon RG, McGrath JF, Van Niel TG. Nitrate Uptake from an Aquifer by Two Plantation Forests: Plausibility Strengthened by Process-Based Modelling. Forests. 2022; 13(2):184. https://doi.org/10.3390/f13020184

Chicago/Turabian Style

Smethurst, Philip J., Tim R. McVicar, Neil I. Huth, Ben P. Bradshaw, Stephen B. Stewart, Thomas G. Baker, Richard G. Benyon, John F. McGrath, and Thomas G. Van Niel. 2022. "Nitrate Uptake from an Aquifer by Two Plantation Forests: Plausibility Strengthened by Process-Based Modelling" Forests 13, no. 2: 184. https://doi.org/10.3390/f13020184

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