Nutrient Availability and Uptake by Tundra Plants

  • J. P. Schimel
  • K. Kielland
  • F. S. ChapinIII
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 120)


Although tundra in the Imnavait Creek watershed is exposed to low temperature, a short growing season, and in many cases, anaerobic soils (see Chaps. 4, 6, and 11, this Vol.), nutrient availability is the factor that most strongly limits plant growth and productivity (Billings et al. 1984; Chapin and Shaver 1985). Nitrogen (N) is the most common limiting element in tundra communities (Barsdate and Alexander 1975), but phosphorus (P) may be either a sole or co-limiting nutrient (McKendrick et al. 1980; Shaver and Chapin 1986). Nitrogen fixation is slow (Alexander and Schell 1973), decomposition and mineralization are limited by cold soils (Nadelhoffer et al. 1991), and N and P immobilization are rapid (Kielland 1990), suggesting that competition from soil microorganisms may limit nutrient availability to plants.


Arctic Tundra Tundra Soil Arctic Ecosystem Tundra Ecosystem Vehicle Track 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. P. Schimel
  • K. Kielland
  • F. S. ChapinIII

There are no affiliations available

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