Landscape-level interactions between topoedaphic features and nitrogen limitation in tallgrass prairie

TitleLandscape-level interactions between topoedaphic features and nitrogen limitation in tallgrass prairie
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1995
AuthorsBenning, TL, Seastedt, TR
JournalLandscape Ecology
Pagination337 -348
Accession NumberKNZ00474
Keywordsfire, NDVI, nitrogen, transect, Watersheds

Transects across watersheds with varying fire histories and remotely-sensed data were used to study vegetation-resource interactions in a tallgrass prairie in Kansas. Paired plots (fertilized, control) were established along these transects and sampled for grass and forb biomass during the 1989 and 1990 growing seasons. Fertilization resulted in significant production responses in grass and total biomass on the west slopes of the annually burned (ID) and infrequently burned (N4) watersheds for both years (p = 0.05). In 1989, fertilization also produced a significant increase in grass biomass on the west slope of the unburned transect (p = 0.05), however, total production was not significantly increased. East slopes were insensitive to nitrogen additions. Differences in production response along these transects were assessed by testing the interaction between fertilization response and slope position. Significant interactions occurred on both 1D and N4, but only in 1990.
Production data for both years were also compared to Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) values derived from thematic mapper (TM) images for 1989 and 1990. When differences among transects or watersheds were statistically different, a positive relationship between NDVI and biomass was observed. NDVI values accurately reflected the spatial patterns of production along these transects for both years although not necessarily the magnitude.