Stable Nitrogen Isotopes in a Forested Watershed in Taiwan

  • Owen, Jeffrey S.
  • Received : 2012.08.03
  • Accepted : 2012.10.09
  • Published : 2013.05.31


Differences in rates and patterns of nitrogen cycling have been correlated with nitrogen stable isotope measurements in forest ecosystems of tropical and temperate regions, but limited similar work has been conducted in sub-tropical forests. This study investigated patterns in stable N isotopic composition in a subtropical forest in Taiwan by sampling three soil profiles and overstory and understory foliage. Soil ${\delta}^{15}N$ in the forest floor ranged from -1.8 to -1.8‰. Mineral soils had higher ${\delta}^{15}N$ (4.1 to 6.0‰). Foliage ${\delta}^{15}N$ in overstory trees ranged from -6.6 to -2.0‰, and understory foliage ${\delta}^{15}N$ ranged from -5.0 to -1.2‰. There was a weak correlation between foliar % N and ${\delta}^{15}N$ ($r^2=0.214$). Compared to results from similar surveys in tropical and temperate forests, foliar ${\delta}^{15}N$ values were generally lower. These results help highlight the need for improved knowledge regarding the relationships between patterns in N stable isotopes and processes affecting rates of N cycling, especially as related to wider scale patterns in forest ecosystems within the east-Asia region.


foliar $^{15}N$;forest soils;nitrogen;stable isotopes;Taiwan


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Supported by : Kyung Hee University