The effects of termites and straw mulch on soil nitrogen in a creosotebush (Larrea tridentata)-dominated Chihuahuan Desert ecosystem

TitleThe effects of termites and straw mulch on soil nitrogen in a creosotebush (Larrea tridentata)-dominated Chihuahuan Desert ecosystem
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsBrown M.F., Whitford WG
JournalJournal of Arid Environments
Volume53
Pagination15-20
Date PublishedJanuary 1, 2003
ARIS Log Number150385
AbstractThe effects of organic matter (wheat straw) and subterranean termites on concentrations of soil nitrogen were measured on insecticide-treated plots to eliminate termites and by adding straw mulch to insecticide-treated and insecticide-untreated plots. Soil nitrogen was significantly higher, 435 mg g (-1 power) soil at 0-5 cm depth, on plots with no termites than on plots with termites (340 mg g (-1 power) soil). There were no differences in total soil nitrogen at soil depths of 5-10 cm. Soil nitrogen was higher in soils with termites than in soils with termites excluded on straw-amended plots. On the plots without straw amendments, total soil nitrogen was higher in soils without termites than in soils with termites present. Termites had no significant effect on total soil nitrogen under shrub canopies in comparison with intercanopy soils. The addition of straw mulch did not result in higher soil nitrogen content in soils without termites. Termites were more important as effectors of soil nitrogen than addition of organic matter in the form of wheat straw.
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