Lower Mississippi Valley (LMV) has lost about 80% bottomland hardwood forests, mainly to agriculture. This landscape scale alteration of the LMV resulted in the loss of nitrate (NO3) removal capacity of the valley, contributing to nitrogen (N)-enhanced eutrophication and potentially hypoxia in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Restoration of hardwood forests in the LMV is a highly recommended practice to reduce NO3 load of the Mississippi River. However, restored bottomland forests take decades to develop characteristic ecological functions including denitrifier activity. One way to enhance denitrifier activity in restored wetland forests is to amend the soils with an available carbon (C) source. This research investigated the effects of cotton gin trash (CGT) amendment on denitrification rate and N2O:N2 emission ratio from a restored bottomland forest soils and compared it to those from an adjacent unamended natural forest soils. CGT amendment increased denitrification rates in the restored forest soils to the level of the natural forest soils. N2O:N2 emission ratios from the restored and natural forest soils were highly variable and were not significantly different from each other. These findings suggest that restoration of bottomland hardwood forests in the LMV will require organic carbon amendment to achieve enhanced denitrifier activity for NO3 removal while the restored forest is developing into a mature state over time. ?? 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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Use of cotton gin trash to enhance denitrification in restored forested wetlands