food for thought (from alt.forestry)

Al Stangenberger forags at nature.Berkeley.EDU
Tue Mar 17 12:44:59 EST 1998

Don Staples (dstaples at wrote:
: B. J. Nodello wrote:
: > 
: >  ...
: > .  Now is the majority of the nutrients in a tree stored in
: > the wood or in the foliage?

: Good question, I think wood. Along with all the rest of the good stuff.  

: Al, you have an answer?

It depends which nutrient we are talking about.  Naturally most carbon
is in stemwood.  Nitrogen and phosphorus, however, tend to be translocated
to areas where active growth and photosynthesis are occurring (branches and
foliage) and to be in much lower quantities in wood.  Stemwood is generally
so low in nitrogen that if it is chipped and left on-site, soil nitrogen
may actually be temporarily depressed as decomposers utilize it to multiply
and eat the wood chips.

For a 100-year-old lodgepole pine growing near Lake Tahoe, we found the
following weights of fertility elements when we cut the tree, weighed it,
and analyzed the parts (all weights in grams per square meter):

            Nitrogen   Phosphorus  Calcium
Foliage         25       1.2        .2
Branches        11        .7        .19
  Wood          15        .3        .70
  Bark           7        .4        .23

Roots           14       1.6         .78

Litter         221       7.6        3.00

Soil (to
 1 meter)      636        .1       60.a

(Zinke, P., Stangenberger, A. & W. Colwell. 1979. Calif. Agriculture 
Al Stangenberger                      forags at            
Dept. of Env. Sci., Policy, & Mgt.    145 Mulford Hall # 3114
Univ. of California at Berkeley       Berkeley, CA  94720-3114
(510) 642-4424  FAX: (510) 643-5438   

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