To improve our ability to predict how different wetland soils cycle nutrients, it is necessary to gain an understanding of N and P net mineralization rates. Since information on mineralization rates in southeast Alaska is limited, this study will improve our ability to predict how different wetlands affect soil nutrient processing. Net N and P mineralization rates were measured both in situ and via lab incubations to evaluate both actual and potential mineralization rates in three wetland types: bogs; forested wetlands; and riparian wetlands. Soil pH was an important controlling variable for both net N and P mineralization rates and soil phosphorus content significantly influenced net P mineralization rates. In situ net mineralization rates ranged from 410–1,710 µg N kg soil−1 day−1 for N and from 2–27 µg P kg soil−1 day−1 for P after 56 days. Lab incubations revealed mineralization potentials were 2–3 times greater than in situ rates. Net N and P mineralization potentials were greatest in the riparian wetlands and were significantly different from the bogs and forested wetlands. In contrast, the bogs mineralized a greater proportion of the total N and P soil pool (µg nutrient mineralized per gram nutrient) and indicates greater internal nutrient cycling within bogs. These results suggest that different wetland types of southeast Alaska process N and P differently and these wetland types should be evaluated separately in future evaluations of wetland ecosystem function.
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Vol. 27 • No. 1