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Standing crops and dynamics of phytomass and minerals in two salt desert shrub communities

Bjerregaard, R.D. and West, N.E. and Caldwell, M.M. and Mayland, H.F. (1984) Standing crops and dynamics of phytomass and minerals in two salt desert shrub communities. Great Basin Naturalist. 44:327-337.

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Of two salt desert shrub communities studied in Curlew Valley, Utah, the Atriplex confertifolia-dominated
community had 15% greater total midsummer phytomass than the Ceratoides lanata community. The
larger Atriplex shrubs contained much more woody tissue for support of photosynthetic tissues than did Ceratoides.
Atriplex aboveground phytomass and litter were about twice those of Ceratoides. Ceratoides litter was generally fine
and easily decomposable, but Atriplex litter contained about equal proportions of coarse, resistant woody tissues and
fine, easily decomposable material. Atriplex root phytomass was 1.3 times that of Ceratoides at the 2-30 cm depth,
but at depths below 30 cm, Ceratoides exhibited up to three times greater root phytomass and had 23% more root
mass overall.

Net aboveground community primary production was estimated to be about one-third greater in the A triplex than
Ceratoides community. Turnover times for readily decomposable aboveground litter were quite similar, but, because
Atriplex produced coarser litter, its overall rate was somewhat slower than that of Ceratoides.

Analyses of selected minerals in plant parts, litter, and soil revealed that about 90% of the mineral capital is in the
soil, mostly within organic matter. Nearly equivalent pools of mineral elements were found in the two communities,
except for greater Na in the Atriplex community.

Item Type: Article
NWISRL Publication Number: 0618
Subjects: Mass Import - unclassified
Depositing User: Dan Stieneke
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2010 21:53
Last Modified: 10 Jan 2017 23:36
Item ID: 483