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Title: Impacts of fire and fire surrogate treatments on ecosystem nitrogen storage patterns: similarities and differences between forests of eastern and western North America
Author: Boerner, R.E.J.; Huang, J.; Hart, S.C.;
Source: Canadian Journal of Forest Research 38: 3056-3070.
Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
The Fire and Fire Surrogates (FFS) network is composed of 12 forest sites that span the continental United
States, all of which historically had frequent low-severity fire. The goal of the FFS study was to assess the efficacy of
three management treatments (prescribed fire, mechanical thinning, and their combination) in reducing wildfire hazard and
increasing ecosystem sustainability. This paper describes the impact of the FFS treatments on nitrogen (N) storage and distribution.
At the network scale, total ecosystem N averaged 4480 kgha–1, with *9% in vegetation, *9% in forest floor,
*2% in deadwood, and *80% in soil. The loss of vegetation N to fire averaged (±SE) 25 ± 11 kgha–1, whereas the mechanical
and combined mechanical and fire treatments resulted in N losses of 133 ± 21 and 145 ± 19 kgha–1, respectively.
Western coniferous forests lost more N from each treatment than did eastern forests. None of the manipulative FFS treatments
impacted >10%–15% of total N of these ecosystems. Management strategies that maximize ecosystem carbon (C)
gain by minimizing loss of N should be a focus in western forests, where C and N cycling are tightly linked, but perhaps
not in those eastern forests where atmospheric N deposition has decoupled C and N cycles.
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Boerner, R.E.J.; Huang, J.; Hart, S.C. 2009. Impacts of fire and fire surrogate treatments on ecosystem nitrogen storage patterns: similarities and differences between forests of eastern and western North America. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 38: 3056-3070.
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