Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary Natural carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios were measured in different compartments (needles and twigs of different ages and crown positions, litter, understorey vegetation, roots and soils of different horizons) on 5 plots of a healthy and on 8 plots of a declining Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) forest in the Fichtelgebirge (NE Bavaria, Germany), which has recently been described in detail (Oren et al. 1988a; Schulze et al. 1989). The δ13C values of needles did not differ between sites or change consistently with needle age, but did decrease from the sun-to the shade-crown. This result confirms earlier conclusions from gas exchange measurements that gaseous air pollutants did no long-lasting damage in an area where such damage was expected. Twigs (δ13C between-25.3 and-27.8‰) were significantly less depleted in 13C than needles (δ13C between-27.3 and-29.1‰), and δ13C in twigs increased consistently with age. The δ15N values of needles ranged between-2.5 and-4.1‰ and varied according to stand and age. In young needles δ15N decreased with needle age, but remained constant or increased in needles that were 2 or 3 years old. Needles from the healthy site were more depleted in 15N than those from the declining site. The difference between sites was greater in old needles than in young ones. This differentiation presumably reflects an earlier onset of nitrogen reallocation in needles of the declining stand. δ15N values in twigs were more negative than in needles (-3.5 to-5.2‰) and showed age- and stand-dependent trends that were similar to the needles. δ15N values of roots and soil samples increased at both stands with soil depth from-3.5 in the organic layer to +4‰ in the mineral soil. The δ15N values of roots from the mineral soil were different from those of twigs and needles. Roots from the shallower organic layer had values similar to twigs and needles. Thus, the bulk of the assimilated nitrogen was presumably taken up by the roots from the organic layer. The problem of separation of ammonium or nitrate use by roots from different soil horizons is discussed.
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