The multi-annual nitrogen budget of a peat-covered catchment — Changing from sink to source?

Worrall, Fred; Clay, Gareth D.; Burt, Tim P.; Rose, Rob. 2012 The multi-annual nitrogen budget of a peat-covered catchment — Changing from sink to source? Science of the Total Environment, 433. 178-188.

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Only a few studies have considered the N budget of peat soils and this in turn has limited the ability of studies to consider the impact of changes in climate and atmospheric deposition upon the N budget of a peat soil. This study considered the total N budget of an upland peat-covered catchment over the period 1993 to 2009. The study has shown: i)Over the period of study the total N atmospheric deposition declined from 3.5 to 0.7 tonnes N/km2/yr. ii)The total fluvial export of N at soil source varied from 0.41 to 1.85 tonnes N/km2/yr with the fluvial flux being greater than the atmospheric input in 3 years of the study, implying significant internal processing. iii)Measuring the C:N ratio of organic matter pools in the ecosystem shows that gross primary productivity and litter decomposition represent outputs of N from the soil while DOC production and humification represent inputs of N. iv)Overall, the total N budget of the peat ecosystem varies from − 1.0 to + 2.5 tonnes N/km2/yr, some years the ecosystem is a net source of N. The time series of the total N budget suggests that the ecosystem is responding to the occurrence of severe droughts with a long-term decline in N storage that could be interpreted as a response to long-term high N deposition rates, even if those rates have now diminished.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biogeochemistry
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Parr
ISSN: 0048-9697
Additional Keywords: peat, atmospheric deposition, fluvial flux, N-saturation
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Agriculture and Soil Science
Atmospheric Sciences
Date made live: 17 Jan 2013 09:06 +0 (UTC)

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