Biogeochemical Cycling

Authored by: David Paré , Daniel Markewitz , Håkan Wallander

Routledge Handbook of Forest Ecology

Print publication date:  October  2015
Online publication date:  October  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415735452
eBook ISBN: 9781315818290
Adobe ISBN: 9781317816447


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Of the 34 elements known or believed to be essential to plants, animals and microorganisms, six are known as plant macro nutrients – nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg) and sulfur (S). N and P are the ones that are the most studied and that most often limit plant growth (Sterner and Elser 2002). These elements are found in relatively small amounts in the soil in a form that is available to plants and are usually efficiently recycled and conserved within the ecosystem. The study of forest nutrient cycling uses three interlinked cycles as proposed by Switzer and Nelson (1972):

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