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Uptake of soil mineral nitrogen by Acacia mangium and Eucalyptus urophylla × grandis: No difference in N form preference

Epron D., Koutika L.S., Tchichelle S.V., Bouillet J.P., Mareschal L.. 2016. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, 179 (6) : p. 726-732.

The introduction of N2-fixing tree species in fast growing tree plantations is a sustainable management option aiming to reduce the risk of nitrogen (N) deficiency due to a large and frequent exportation of nutrients at harvest. Differences in soil mineral N preferences between Eucalyptus urophylla¿×¿grandis and Acacia mangium may, in addition to facilitation related to atmospheric N2 fixation, contribute to the success of mixed-species plantations of the two species on nutrient-poor soils of the coastal Congolese plains. We tested whether these two species differ in their preference for nitrate or ammonium by supplying either ammonium or nitrate enriched in 15N to six-month-old potted trees growing in an open-air nursery. Although the uptake of nitrate tended to be higher than that of ammonium by both species, the difference was not significant and there was no significant difference between the species regarding their preferred form of soil mineral N. Despite much lower N contents in foliage, stems, and roots of eucalypt compared to acacia, the specific rates of N uptake were up to three times higher for eucalypt than acacia, which suggests that atmospheric N2 was the major source of N in the six-month-old acacias. We conclude that N2 fixation rather than complementarity for soil mineral nitrogen alleviates the competition between species in successful mixed eucalypt and acacia plantations. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : nitrate; fertilisation; plantation forestière; compétition végétale; ammonium; fixation de l'azote; cycle de l'azote; eucalyptus grandis; eucalyptus urophylla; acacia mangium; république démocratique du congo; plantation forestière mixte; plante fixatrice d'azote

Thématique : Production forestière; Fertilisation; Physiologie végétale : nutrition

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