Dynamics of soil nitrogen along a topoclimatic gradient in the Judean desert

G. Xie, I. Lahav, G. Barness, Y. Steinberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Nitrogen is considered to be one of the major deficient nutrient elements in desert soils, where levels of nitrogen and its fractions undergo rapid tempospatial and chemical changes with the changes in season, according to water availability. A better understanding of this knowledge would be useful for describing the nitrogen state and changes in arm to semiarid systems. The present study in vestigated mineral nitrogen content in soils sampled from four sites in the Judean Desert along a topoclimatic gradient ranging from Mediterranean to arid conditions, over a period of two years. It was concluded that, along the Judean Desert topoclimatic gradient, temporal dynamics in total soluble nitrogen (TSN) (0.4-80.0 mg kg-1 dry soil), mainly consisting of NH+/4-N (0.03-28.1 mg kg-1 dry soil) and NO-3-N (0-57.2 mg kg-1 dry soil), are closely related to the soil moisture pattern. However, the effect of soil moisture on long-term TSN spatial dynamics is not so pronounced, due to leaching and denitrification. Significantly higher NH+4-N than NO-3-N levels exist in soils during dry periods, whereas an opposite pattern was observed during the wet seasons. Ammonia may be volatilized, preventing ammonium from accumulating with a decrease in soil clay content. More NO-2-N accumulated in a drier site than in moister sites, probably due to aridity having a different impact on different nitrification processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-146
Number of pages12
JournalArid Land Research and Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Receievd 5 April 20;0a0ccepted 30 June 20.00 This stduy was ptlyasupprorted by a Fred and Barbara Kort Sineol Po-Iststol Fedrllowshiraoapcto the author, Dr. GuangHui Xie. This research was also supported by gntrs fraom the Miintsy rof Science and the KFA-B-FrEchungszesoOnmtJÈ rlicuhuGmbH/ProttraÈ gerjefuÈ r cBiologi,cEnerg, unideOÈ ko; logie and the B-aIn UnlriaevriystResearch Authority. Address correspondence to Pr.oY.Sfetienerr, Fbguaylct Science,Bsr-anUIlan, iversity RamatGan5902,0Irsa.Emeai:lsteinl by@mail.bu.aci.il


  • Ammonium
  • Negev
  • Nitrate
  • Nitrite
  • Spatial variability
  • Temporal variability


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