Influence of microtopography and nutrient limitation on belowground productivity in an old-growth floodplain forest at Congaree National Park, SC, USA
Type of Degreethesis
DepartmentForestry and Wildlife Sciences
MetadataShow full item record
This study was designed to improve our understanding of nutrient cycling, C storage and belowground net primary productivity (BNPP) in an old-growth floodplain forest. Four microsites were established parallel to the Congaree River on a floodplain in Congaree National Park, SC, decreasing in elevation from the river (natural levee > flat > transitional > backswamp). Response variables for each microsite included: BNPP (June 2011-March 2013) and results from two fertilized root in-growth core studies (summer 2012, fall 2012). BNPP decreased significantly in the following order: natural levee, flat, transitional, and backswamp. Combined N+P fertilization treatments significantly increased fine root productivity relative to the control, suggesting that N and P co-limit fine root productivity in this floodplain forest. Results indicate that significant differences in root growth patterns and nutrient dynamics occur along an elevational gradient, and water availability has a greater effect on fine root productivity than does a single nutrient.