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Future Nitrogen Cycling

Understanding how global change will affect patterns of nitrogen (N) loss from forests is an area of special importance for researchers. Atmospheric deposition of N associated with anthropogenic activities and the sensitivity of microbial processes that convert organic N to plant available forms to temperature both point to the likelihood of increased N export from forests as increased rates of deposition and warming continue. Increased N export reduces water quality, long term forest productivity, and the ability of the forest to sequester carbon.

Brookshire, E.N. Jack, Stefan Gerber, Jackson R. Webster, James M. Vose, and Wayne T. Swank. 2010. Direct effects of temperature on forest nitrogen cycling revealed through analysis of long-term watershed records. Global Change Biology 17(1):297-308.
Knoepp, Jennifer D. and Wayne T. Swank. 2002. Using soil temperature and moisture to predict forest soil nitrogen mineralization. Biology and Fertility of Soils 36:177-182.
Knoepp, Jennifer D. and James M. Vose. 2007. Regulation of nitrogen mineralization and nitrification in Southern Appalachian ecosystems: Separating the relative importance of biotic vs. abiotic controls. Pedobiologia 51:89-97.
Stream nitrate concentrations as observed (circles) and modeled (gray line) over one year at two watersheds monitored by the Coweeta LTER. Annual temperature (black line) shows a clear positive correlation with nitrate concentrations
Brookshire et al 2010

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