Soil properties in the MELNHE study at Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, Bartlett Experimental Forest and Jeffers Brook, central NH USA, 2009 - present
Soil properties in the MELNHE study at Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, Bartlett Experimental Forest and Jeffers Brook, central NH USA, 2009 - present
Melany Fisk
Miami University
Biology Department Pearson Hall
Oxford, OH 45056
The Multiple Element Limitation in Northern Hardwood Ecosystems (MELNHE) project studies N and P acquisition and limitation through a series of nutrient manipulations in northern hardwood forests. This data set includes soil properties measured in Oe, Oa, and mineral soil horizons in all 13 of the MELNHE study sites in 2009 (pre-treatment).
KEYWORD SET: Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study LTER
Bartlett Experimental Forest, bicarbonate extractable phosphorus, extractable Ca, HBEF Watershed 101, HBR, Hubbard Brook LTER, Jeffers Brook, mineral horizon, nitrogen fertilization, Oa horizon, Oe horizon, phosphorous fertilization, soil, soil pH, soil texture.
KEYWORD SET: LTER Core Research Areas
disturbance, inorganic nutrients.
HBEF watershed 101 (WS101)
West bounding coordinate: -71.741722
East bounding coordinate: -71.735756
North bounding coordinate: 43.940002
South bounding coordinate: 43.935921
Jeffers Brook MELNHE Plots
West bounding coordinate: -71.8910
East bounding coordinate: -71.8880
North bounding coordinate: 44.0380
South bounding coordinate: 44.0340
Barlett MELNHE Plots
West bounding coordinate: -71.3230
East bounding coordinate: -71.2650
North bounding coordinate: 44.0610
South bounding coordinate: 44.0360
MELNHE Overview
Although temperate forests are generally thought of as N-limited, resource optimization theory predicts that ecosystem productivity should be co-limited by multiple nutrients. These ideas are represented in the Multi-Element Limitation (MEL) model (Rastetter et al. 2012). To test the patterns of resource limitation predicted by MEL, we are conducting nutrient manipulations in three study sites in New Hampshire: Bartlett Experimental Forest, Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, and Jeffers Brook in the White Mountain National Forest. Additional project information can be found at
Site Description
At Bartlett, we have three replicate stands of three ages, young (~20 y), mid-aged (30), and mature (>100 years). We have identified stands at Hubbard Brook and Jeffers Brook that corresponds to the mid-aged and mature stands at Bartlett, for 4 more stands. Each of the 13 stands has four 1/4 ha (50 m x 50 m) treatment plots, treated annually beginning in spring 2011, with N (30 kg N/ha/yr as NH4NO3), P (10 kg P/ha/yr as NaH2PO4), N+P, or nothing (an untreated control). Five stands also have a Ca treatment plot (1150 kg Ca/ha in the form of CaSiO3).
We are monitoring stem diameter, leaf area, sap flow, foliar chemistry, leaf litter production and chemistry, foliar nutrient resorption, root biomass and production, mycorrhizal associations, soil respiration, heterotrophic respiration, N and P availability, N mineralization, soil phosphatase activity, soil carbon and nitrogen, nutrient uptake capacity of roots, and mineral weathering. This data set includes soil pH, texture, and extractable Ca data.
Sampling Design
In 2009 (pretreatment), approximately 30, 2-cm diameter soil cores were collected throughout each plot and composited by horizon in order to best represent the average condition of each plot.
Laboratory Procedures
Samples were refrigerated until processing, and were processed within 4 days of collection (usually processed the day after collection). Samples were homogenized by gentle separation of organic fragments over a 4-mm sieve followed by thorough mixing. Fragments > 4 mm were not included. Soil moisture content was determined by drying subsamples at 60 degrees C to constant mass. Bicarbonate-extractable P was quantified by shaking soils for 30 min in 40 mL of 0.5 M NaHCO3 (pH 8.5). Extracts were filtered through Whatman # 2 paper and subjected to acid persulfate digestion. Inorganic P concentration in extracts was analyzed using the ammonium-molybdate-ascorbic acid method (Murphy and Riley 1962). We quantified organic matter concentration by loss-on-ignition at 450 oC and measured pH in water (2:1, soil mass:water volume) with constant stirring. Percent sand, silt, and clay were quantified in the surface 10 cm of mineral soil only, using the hydrometer method (Sheldrick and Wang 1993). We extracted calcium from soil subsamples by shaking for 1/2 hr in 1 M NH4Cl, shaking briefly again after 18 hrs, and filtering after an additional 45 min. Extract Ca concentration was analyzed using air/acetylene flame on a Varian SpectrAA (Palo Alto, CA) with lanthanum chloride (1%) to eliminate interferences.
  • Bae, B., Fahey, T.J., Yanai, R.D., and Fisk, M.C. 2015. Soil nitrogen availability affects belowground carbon allocation and soil respiration in northern hardwood forests of New Hampshire. Ecosystems 18(7):1179-1191.
  • Fisk, M.C., Ratliff, T.J., Goswami, S., and Yanai, R.D. 2014. Synergistic soil response to nitrogen plus phosphorus fertilization in hardwood forests. Biogeochemistry 118:195-204.
  • Murphy, J., and Riley, I.P. 1962. A modified single solution method for the determination of phosphate in natural waters.. Anal. Chim. Acta 27:31-6.
  • Rastetter, E.B., Yanai, R.D., Thomas, R.Q., Vadeboncoeur, M.A., Fahey, T.J., Fisk, M.C., Kwiatkowski, B.L., and Hamburg, S.P. 2013. Recovery from Disturbance Requires Resynchronization of Ecosystem Nutrient Cycles. Ecological Applications 23:621-642.
  • Ratliff, T.J., and Fisk, M.C. 2015. Phosphatase activity is related to N availability but not P availability across hardwood forests in the northeastern United States. Soil Biology and Biochemistry In Press:000-000.
Data Use Policy

The re-use of scientific data has the potential to greatly increase communication, collaboration and synthesis within and among disciplines, and thus is fostered, supported and encouraged. Permission to use this dataset is granted to the Data User free of charge subject to the following terms:

1) Acceptable use. Use of the dataset will be restricted to academic, research, government or other not-for-profit professional purposes.

2) Redistribution. The data and metadata are provided for use by the Data User. The Data User will not redistribute the original Data Set or metadata to others without the explicit permission of the Principal Investigator.

3) Citation. It is considered a matter of professional ethics to acknowledge the work of other scientists. Thus, the Data User will properly attribute the Data Set in any publications or in the metadata of any derived data products that were produced using the Data Set. Citation should take the following general form: Creator, Year of Data Publication, Title of Dataset, Publisher, Dataset identifier.

Citation example: Holmes, R.T. 2012. Bird Abundances at Hubbard Brook (1969-2010) and on three replicate plots (1986-2000) in the White Mountain National Forest. Durham, NH. Hubbard Brook Data Archive [Database]. (23 July 2012)

4) Acknowledgment: The Data User should acknowledge any institutional support or specific funding awards referenced in the metadata accompanying this dataset in any publications where the Data Set contributed to its content. Acknowledgments should identify the supporting party, the party that received the support, and any identifying information such as grant numbers.

Acknowledgment example: Data on [topic] were provided by [name of PI] on [date]. These data were gathered as part of the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study (HBES). The HBES is a collaborative effort at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, which is operated and maintained by the USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Newtown Square, PA. Significant funding for collection of these data was provided by [agency]-[grant number], [agency]-[grant number], etc.

5) Consultation and questions. Data users are strongly encouraged to consult with the Principal Investigator(s) who collected these data for further information. Also, when appropriate, Data Users should consider including the Principal Investigator as a collaborator and/or co-author in the use of these data.

6) Notification. The Data User will notify the Principal Investigator of any publication or derivative work based on the Data Set. The Data User will also provide the Principal Investigator and/or the administrator of the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study with a pdf or two reprints of any publication(s) resulting from use of the Data Set.

7) Disclaimer. While substantial efforts are made to ensure the accuracy of data and documentation contained in this Data Set, complete accuracy of data and metadata cannot be guaranteed. All data and metadata are made available "as is". The Data User holds all parties involved in the production or distribution of the Data Set harmless for damages resulting from its use or interpretation.

8) Terms of Agreement. By accepting this Data Set, the Data User agrees to abide by the terms of this agreement. The Data Owner shall have the right to terminate this agreement immediately by written notice upon the Data User's breach of, or non-compliance with, any of its terms. The Data User may be held responsible for any misuse that is caused or encouraged by the Data User's failure to abide by the terms of this agreement.


Information Manager, Hubbard Brook LTER
234 Mirror Lake Road
North Woodstock, NH 03262

Phone: (603) 726-8902

Data file: melnhe_soilprop.txt
Description: Soil properties at MELNHE sites
Notes on Data: This data set contains only pre-treatment soil data. Additional post-treatment data will be added as it becomes available. Data are stored at the Fisk lab at Miami University and on the MELNHE website.
ColumnVariableDescriptionUnitsCoded?Missing value label
1SiteResearch sitenoneynone
2AgeStand Agenoneynone
3StandStand namenoneynone
4PlotPlot numbernoneynone
5TreatmentFertilization treatmentnoneynone
6YearYear of sample collection.YYYYnnone
7DateDate of sample collection.YYYY-MM-DDnnone
8OeExCaExtractable calcium in the Oe horizon, ug Ca/g soil.microgramPerGramn
9OaExCaExtractable calcium in the Oa horizon, ug Ca/g soil.microgramPerGramn
10MinExCaExtractable calcium in the surface 10 cm of mineral soil, ug Ca/g soil.microgramPerGramn
11PerSandPercent sand in the surface 10 cm of the mineral horizon.percentn
12PerSiltPercent silt in the surface 10 cm of the mineral horizon.percentn
13PerClayPercent clay in the surface 10 cm of the mineral horizon.percentn
14OepHpH in the Oe horizon.pHn
15OapHpH in the Oa horizon.pHn
16MinpHpH in the surface 10 cm of mineral soil.pHn
17OeBicPBicarbonate-extractable phosphorus in the Oe horizon as ug P/g soil.microgramPerGramn
18OaBicPBicarbonate-extractable phosphorus in the Oa horizon as ug P/g soil.microgramPerGramn
19MinBicPBicarbonate-extractable phosphorus in the surface 10 cm of mineral soil as ug P/g soil.microgramPerGramn
20OeOMPercent organic matter in the Oe horizon.percentn
21OaOMpercent organic matter in the Oe horizon the Oa horizon.percentn
22MinOMPercent organic matter in the surface 10 cm of mineral soil.percentn
23OeH2OWater content in the Oe horizon, percent dry weight at 60 C.percentn
24OaH2OWater content in the Oa horizon, percent dry weight at 60 C.percentn
25MinH2OWater content in the surface 10 cm of mineral soil, percent dry weight at 60 C.percentn


Variable: Site
Bartlett Experimental Forest
Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest Watershed 101
Jeffers Brook
Variable: Age
100 years old
30 years old
20 years old
Variable: Stand
Stand C1 Bartlett Experimental Forest
Stand C2 Bartlett Experimental Forest
Stand C3 Bartlett Experimental Forest
Stand C4 Bartlett Experimental Forest
Stand C5 Bartlett Experimental Forest
Stand C6 Bartlett Experimental Forest
Stand C7 Bartlett Experimental Forest
Stand C8 Bartlett Experimental Forest
Mature stand, Hubbard Brook Watershed 101 or Jeffers Brook
Mid-aged stand, Hubbard Brook Watershed 101 or Jeffers Brook
Variable: Plot
Plot 1 of 4 within a stand
Plot 2 of 4 within a stand
Plot 3 of 4 within a stand
Plot 4 of 4 within a stand
Variable: Treatment
sampling occurs prior to initiation of experiment

Missing Value Code
Code Explanation
Data not available
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