Processes controlling ammonia volatilization from Chihuahuan Desert soils

TitleProcesses controlling ammonia volatilization from Chihuahuan Desert soils
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1991
AuthorsSchlesinger W.H, Peterjohn WT
JournalSoil Biology and Biochemistry
Date Published1991
Accession NumberJRN00138
Call Number00291
Keywordsammonia volatilization, article, articles, biogeochemistry, ammonia volatilization, biogeochemistry, ammonium mineralization, journal, journals, nutrient cycling, shrubland,ammonia, soil, ammonia volatilization, soil,ammonium mineralization

Ammonia volatilization was measured at three sites in the Chihuahuan Desert of southern New Mexico, U.S.A. In dry soils, ammonia volatilization ranged from 9 to 11 ug N m-2 day -1 in a shrubland site after an experimental addition of water. Ammonia volatilization also increased with experimental additions of NH4Cl and decreased with additions of sucrose. Competition by nitrifiers for available NH4+ had little effect on NH3 volatilization; N-Serve, added to inhibit nitrification, decreased NH3 volatilization in a grassland site and had little effect at other sites. We suggest that NH3 volatilization is controlled by the rate of mineralization of NH4+ from soil organic matter, and mineralization is stimulated by rainfall. Overall rates of NH3 volatilization from undisturbed desert ecosystems appear to be much lower than those reported for rangeland and agricultural soils.