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How important is plant litter to the regulation of mineral-N leaching to streams in winter? An observations-led experimental approach

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JournalSoil use and management
DatePublished - Mar 2011
Issue number1
Volume27
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)10-17
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Ammonium-N concentrations were frequently observed to exceed nitrate-N concentrations in an intermittently flowing stream draining acid grassland in North Yorkshire. This prompted the design of a soil microcosm experiment to investigate the role of litter in the leaching of ammonium and nitrate from soil profiles during winter. Drainage water was analysed weekly for N species, pH, mineral acid anions and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) for a period of 11 weeks, while extractable mineral-N was determined after 5 and 11 weeks. The results demonstrate that litter plays an important role in reducing mineral-N leaching in winter months. They also suggest that DOC from the litter participates in mineral-N retention in the soil profiles in winter. Ammonium-N and nitrate-N concentrations measured in the microcosm drainage water are similar to those of the stream.

    Research areas

  • DOC, litter, leaching, NO3-, NH4+, winter, NITROGEN DYNAMICS, MANURE TYPE, LONG-TERM, NITRATE, FOREST, NITRIFICATION, SOILS, GRASSLAND, BUDGETS, COVER

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