Nitrogen Nutrition of Trees in Temperate Forests—The Significance of Nitrogen Availability in the Pedosphere and Atmosphere

Heinz Rennenberg, Michael Dannenmann
2015 Forests  
Nitrogen (N) is an essential nutrient that is highly abundant as N2 in the atmosphere and also as various mineral and organic forms in soils. However, soil N bioavailability often limits the net primary productivity of unperturbed temperate forests with low atmospheric N input. This is because most soil N is part of polymeric organic matter, which requires microbial depolymerization and mineralization to render bioavailable N forms such as monomeric organic or mineral N. Despite this N
more » ... ite this N limitation, many unfertilized forest ecosystems on marginal soil show relatively high productivity and N uptake comparable to agricultural systems. The present review article addresses the question of how this high N demand is met in temperate forest ecosystems. For this purpose, current knowledge on the distribution and fluxes of N in marginal forest soil and the regulation of N acquisition and distribution in trees are summarized. The related processes and fluxes under N limitation are compared with those of forests exposed to high N loads, where chronic atmospheric N deposition has relieved N limitation and caused N saturation. We conclude that soil microbial biomass is of decisive importance for nutrient retention and provision to trees both in high and low N ecosystems. OPEN ACCESS Forests 2015, 6 2821
doi:10.3390/f6082820 fatcat:cd7eqemlwra5bkd3areg6epdim