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Nitrogen mineralization in boreal forest stands of northwestern Quebec

McGill University
Publication Date
  • Soils -- Nitrogen Content -- Québec (Province)
  • Trees -- Effect Of Minerals On -- Québec (Province).
  • Forest Soils -- Québec (Province).
  • Taigas -- Québec (Province).
  • Design


The effect of species, parent material, and stand age on nitrogen mineralization were examined during aerobic lab and field incubations. The experimental design consisted of 3 tree species (birch (Betula papyrifera Marsh.); poplar (Populus tremuloides Michx.); and conifers (Abies balsamea (L.) Mill. and Picea glauca (Moench) Voss.)); two parent materials (lacustrine clay and glacial till); and three stand ages (50, 75, and 124 years of age). The strongest determinant of nitrogen mineralization potential was species. The effects of parent material and stand age were variable. Total nitrogen, pH, and soil moisture also affected N mineralization. Nitrogen mineralization dynamics may be largely affected by annual changes in quality of organic matter or climate. Available nitrogen inherent in forest stands must be taken into consideration when replacing hardwood stands with softwoods, because eliminating stages of boreal mixedwood succession could have detrimental effects on available nitrogen and forest productivity in the long-term.

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