This study aimed to evaluate nitrogen (N) leaching from Japanese cedar, the main plantation species in Japan, in response to elevated atmospheric N deposition. N leaching and possible factors, including soil nitrification, tree N uptake, and topographic steepness, were evaluated in mature (64–69 year) Japanese cedar trees planted on steep slopes (25°–40°) and neighboring Japanese oak plantations in suburban forests, which served as reference sites. N fertilization (50 kg N ha−1 year−1 as ammonium nitrate) was conducted to evaluate the response of N leaching to an elevated inorganic N pool in the surface soil. The soil water nitrate (NO3−) concentration below the rooting zone in the Japanese cedar forest (607 ± 59 μmol L−1) was much higher than that in the Japanese oak plantations (8.7 ± 8.1 μmol L−1) and increased immediately after fertilization, indicating high N leaching from the Japanese cedar plantations. The relatively low N uptake by Japanese cedar planted on the steep slopes could be an important contributor to the high N leaching. This study highlights the importance of vegetation composition for managing the water quality in headwater streams from forest ecosystems disturbed by atmospheric N deposition.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes