Effects of nitrogen fertilization on primary production in a Chihuahuan Desert ecosystem

TitleEffects of nitrogen fertilization on primary production in a Chihuahuan Desert ecosystem
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1978
AuthorsEttershank G, Ettershank J, Bryant M, Whitford WG
JournalJournal of Arid Environments
Date Published1978
Call Number00060
Keywordsarticle, articles, creosotebush, SEE <LARREA>, Erioneuron,nitrogen fertilization, Erioneuron,primary production, fertilization amendment, grass, Erioneuron, journal, journals, Larrea, also SEE <SHRUB>, Larrea,nitrogen fertilization, Larrea,primary production, nitrogen fertilization,Erioneuron, nitrogen fertilization,Larrea, primary production, Erioneuron, primary production,Larrea

In a Chihuahuan desert ecosytem, the growth responses to nitrogen amendment of a perennial shrub (creosotebush, Larrea tridentata) and a perennial grass (fluff grass, Erioneuron pulchellum) were made twice during the growing season: first during a period of average rainfall, then during a period of above average rainfall. Fluff grass exhibited a marked increase in biomass to 25 kg ha-1 and 100 kg ha-1 nitrogen fertilization. Creosotebush increased biomass production only at the higher level during both periods. These results suggest that productivity of a Chihuahuan desert system is partially nitrogen limited and that shallow-rooted plants utilized the available nitrogen at the 25 kg ha-1 fertilization level, thus making it unavailable to creosotebush.