Past, present, and future soil nitrogen and phosphorus dynamics in southern Appalachian forests
McLean, Kaitlin Joan
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Along with climate, nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) dynamics in forest ecosystems are critical drivers of forest health, productivity, and carbon (C) balances. In this study, five plots were established at the Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory in Otto, NC, along a natural elevation, temperature, moisture, and vegetation gradient. These plots established long-term measurements including throughfall, soil nutrients, and soil solution leachate, to better understand the effects of global change on forest biogeochemical cycles. Based on previous measurements in the gradient plots, it was hypothesized that the highest elevation site would receive the most N and P input via throughfall and also the greatest response to increased N and PO4 deposition, temperature, and moisture dynamics. These hypotheses were supported by throughfall N amounts, N soil transformations, soil P pool fractionation, and quantities of N and P in soil solution leachates in 2010.