Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service

Research & Development Treesearch

Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help - We Participate  Government Made Easy

Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (884 KB bytes)

Title: Microbial community variation and its relationship with nitrogen mineralization in historically altered forests

Author: Fraterrigo, Jennifer M.; Balser, Teri C.; Turner, Monica g.;

Date: 2006

Source: Ecology, Vol. 87(3): 570-579

Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication

Description: Past land use can impart soil legacies that have important implications for ecosystem function. Although these legacies have been linked with microbially mediated processes, little is known about the long-term influence of land use on soil microbial communities themselves. We examined whether historical land use affected soil microbial community composition (lipid profiles) and whether community composition was related to potential net nitrogen (N) mineralization rates in southern Appalachian (USA) forest stands abandoned from agriculture or logging and reforested >50 yr ago. Microbial community composition was determined by a hybrid procedure of phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) and fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) analysis. We found that community composition varied significantly with past land use. Communities in formerly farmed stands had a higher relative abundance of markers for gram-negative bacteria and a lower abundance of markers for fungi compared with previously logged and reference (i.e., no disturbance history) stands. Potential net N mineralization rates were negatively correlated with fungal and gram-negative bacterial markers in both farmed and reference stands, and fungal abundance and soil bulk density effectively predicted mineralization rates in all stands. Our results indicate that the alteration of microbial communities by historical land use may influence the ecosystem processes they mediate. This is in contrast to typical expectations about microbial community resilience to change. Here, the decrease in fungal abundance observed from disturbance appeared to result in decreased nitrogen mineralization over the long term.

Keywords: bacteria, fame, fungi, land-use history and ecosystem functions, PLFA, soil microbial communities, southern Appalachians (USA)

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
  • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication. (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)



Fraterrigo, Jennifer M.; Balser, Teri C.; Turner, Monica g. 2006. Microbial community variation and its relationship with nitrogen mineralization in historically altered forests. Ecology, Vol. 87(3): 570-579


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.