[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Microorganisms are responsible for the mineralisation of organic nitrogen in soils. NH4+ can be further oxidised to NO3- during nitrification and NO3- can be reduced to gaseous nitrogen compounds during denitrification. During both processes, nitrous oxide (N2O), which is known as greenhouse gas, can be lost from the ecosystem. The aim of this study was to quantify N2O emissions and the internal microbial N cycle including net N mineralisation and net nitrification in a montane forest ecosystem in the North Tyrolean Limestone Alps during an 18-month measurement period and to estimate the importance of these fluxes in comparison with other components of the N cycle. Gas samples were taken every 2 weeks using the closed chamber method. Additionally, CO2 emission rates were measured to estimate soil respiration activity. Net mineralisation and net nitrification rates were determined by the buried bag method every month. Ion exchange resin bags were used to determine the N availability in the root zone. Mean N2O emission rate was 0.9 kg N ha(-1) a(-1), which corresponds to 5% of the N deposited in the forest ecosystem. The main influencing factors were air and soil temperature and NO3- accumulated on the ion exchange resin bags. In the course of net ammonification, 14 kg NH4+-N ha(-1) were produced per year. About the same amount of NO3--N was formed during nitrification, indicating a rather complete nitrification going on at the site. NO3- concentrations found on the ion exchange resin bags were about 3 times as high as NO3- produced during net nitrification, indicating substantial NO3- immobilisation. The results of this study indicate significant nitrification activities taking place at the Mühleggerköpfl.
Environmental Science and Pollution Research 02/2002; Spec No 2:23-30. · 2.76 Impact Factor