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Large herbivores affect the stoichiometry of nutrients in a regenerating woodland ecosystem.

Carline, Kathryn A. and Jones, Helen E. and Bardgett, Richard D. (2005) Large herbivores affect the stoichiometry of nutrients in a regenerating woodland ecosystem. Oikos, 110 (3). pp. 453-460. ISSN 0030-1299

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Abstract

Previous studies on the effects of herbivores on nutrient cycling have given little consideration to the relationship between soil nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) availability. Here we examined how browsing by red deer influences the relative availability of N and P in a regenerating woodland ecosystem. We found that removal of browsing by fencing for 14 years led to a shift from N toward P limitation of the dominant tree species Betula pubescens. This was evidenced by a significant increase in foliar N:P ratio of B. pubescens as a result of removal of browsing; mean N:P ratio of foliage from browsed areas was 13.2 suggesting that trees growing in browsed areas were N limited, whereas foliage from unbrowsed areas had a mean N:P ratio of 15.8, suggesting that these areas were more P limited. Further evidence of a shift toward P limitation in unbrowsed areas came from the finding that root uptake of labelled 32P was significantly greater in roots collected from unbrowsed than browsed trees. Soil phosphatase activity did not significantly differ between browsed and unbrowsed areas. Our data indicate therefore that herbivores have the potential to significantly affect the stoichiometry of N and P in forest ecosystems.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Oikos
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Departments: Faculty of Science and Technology > Lancaster Environment Centre
ID Code: 10224
Deposited By: Prof Richard Bardgett
Deposited On: 11 Jul 2008 08:51
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2013 10:48
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/10224

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