Japan has been receiving increasing levels of atmospheric nitrogenous pollutants from the East Asian continent over the last few decades, so it is critical to evaluate the impact of this increased atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition on N cycling even in rural forests. This study evaluated the contribution of the current level of atmospheric N deposition to N cycling in a rural forested area. Bulk precipitation and stream water were collected during 2007-2011 at the Shiiba Research Forest (SRF) located in the central Kyushu mountain range of southern Japan. Litterfall was also collected to investigate the contribution of atmospheric N deposition to total N input (litterfall N + atmospheric N deposition). The results showed that atmospheric depositions of both nitrate (NO3 -) and ammonium (NH4 +) were a few times higher during 2009-2011 than in 1991. This could be the result of additional N deposition from the increased long-range transport of nitrogenous pollutants from the East Asian continent. The current level of annual N deposition (9.7 kg N ha-1 year-1) at the SRF was comparable with that at many urban sites and was close to the reported threshold values causing N saturation in forest ecosystems. Although current atmospheric N deposition was an important component (23 %) of total N input (43 kg N ha -1 year-1) at the SRF, the concentrations of NO 3 - in stream water were consistently low (<10 μmol L-1). These results indicate that atmospheric N deposition is currently largely incorporated into forest ecosystems without excess N export from forested watersheds.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Engineering
- Environmental Chemistry
- Ecological Modelling
- Water Science and Technology