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The uplift of soil nutrients by plants: biogeochemical consequences across scales

Jobbágy EG, RB Jackson
Journal Volume/Pages: 
85: 2380-2389

Although the bulk of plant biomass contains relatively light, atmospherically derived elements (C, H, O, N, and S), 5 to 10% of biomass is comprised of heavier elements from soil minerals, such as Ca, Mg, K, and P. Plant uptake and cycling transport these heavier elements to the soil surface, resulting in shallower vertical distributions for strongly cycled elements than for other elements. In this paper we evaluate the biogeochemical consequences of this process at different spatial and temporal scales based on chronosequence studies and soil database analyses. In the bare coastal dunes of Argentina, the vertical distributions of exchangeable K+ (strongly cycled) and Na+ (more weakly cycled) were similar initially but diverged 15 years after pine afforestation, with K distributions becoming significantly concentrated in the surface and Na distributions becoming deeper (P

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