N Mineralization (n + mineralization)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Kinds of N Mineralization

  • net n mineralization

  • Selected Abstracts

    Soil moisture, carbon and nitrogen dynamics following incorporation and surface application of labelled crop residues in soil columns

    F. Coppens
    Summary One way to increase the amount of carbon sequestered in agricultural land is to convert conventional tillage into no-tillage systems. This greatly affects the location of crop residues in soil. To investigate the impact of the location of residues on soil physical and biological properties and how the interactions between those properties influence the fate of carbon and nitrogen in soil, we did a laboratory experiment with repacked soil in columns. Doubly labelled 13C15N oilseed rape residues were incorporated in the 0,10 cm layer or left on the soil surface. The columns were incubated for 9 weeks at 20°C and were submitted to three cycles of drying and wetting, each of them induced by a rain simulator. The location of the residues affected the water dynamics and the distribution of C and N in the soil, which in turn influenced microbial activity and the decomposition rate of the added residues. After 9 weeks of'incubation, 18.4 ± 1.5% of the surface applied residue-C and 54.7 ± 1.3% of the incorporated residue-C was mineralized. We observed a nitrate accumulation of 10.7 mg N kg,1 with residues at the soil surface, 3.6 mg N kg,1 with incorporated residues and 6.3 mg N kg,1 without addition of fresh organic matter, which entailed net N mineralization in soil under mulch and immobilization of N with residue incorporation compared with the control soil. We concluded that application of oilseed rape residues at the soil surface increased the storage of fresh organic C in soil in the short term, compared with the incorporation treatment, but increased the risk of nitrate leaching. [source]

    Modeling the effects of fire and climate change on carbon and nitrogen storage in lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) stands

    Abstract The interaction between disturbance and climate change and resultant effects on ecosystem carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) fluxes are poorly understood. Here, we model (using CENTURY version 4.5) how climate change may affect C and N fluxes among mature and regenerating lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia Engelm. ex S. Wats.) stands that vary in postfire tree density following stand-replacing fire. Both young (postfire) and mature stands had elevated forest production and net N mineralization under future climate scenarios relative to current climate. Forest production increased 25% [Hadley (HAD)] to 36% [Canadian Climate Center (CCC)], compared with 2% under current climate, among stands that varied in stand age and postfire density. Net N mineralization increased under both climate scenarios, e.g., +19% to 37% (HAD) and +11% to 23% (CCC), with greatest increases for young stands with sparse tree regeneration. By 2100, total ecosystem carbon (live+dead+soils) in mature stands was higher than prefire levels, e.g., +16% to 19% (HAD) and +24% to 28% (CCC). For stands regenerating following fire in 1988, total C storage was 0,9% higher under the CCC climate model, but 5,6% lower under the HAD model and 20,37% lower under the Control. These patterns, which reflect variation in stand age, postfire tree density, and climate model, suggest that although there were strong positive responses of lodgepole pine productivity to future changes in climate, C flux over the next century will reflect complex relationships between climate, age structure, and disturbance-recovery patterns of the landscape. [source]

    Linking microbial activity and soil organic matter transformations in forest soils under elevated CO2

    S. A. Billings
    Abstract Soil organic matter (SOM) dynamics ultimately govern the ability of soil to provide long-term C sequestration and the nutrients required for ecosystem productivity. Predicting belowground responses to elevated CO2 requires an integrated understanding of SOM transformations and the microbial activity that governs them. It remains unclear how the microorganisms upon which these transformations depend will function in an elevated CO2 world. This study examines SOM transformations and microbial metabolism in soils from the Duke Free Air Carbon Enrichment site in North Carolina, USA. We assessed microbial respiration and net nitrogen (N) mineralization in soils with and without elevated CO2 exposure during a 100-day incubation. We also traced the depleted C isotopic signature of the supplemental CO2 into SOM and the soils' phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA), which serve as biomarkers for living cells. Cumulative net N mineralization in elevated CO2 soils was 50% that in control soils after a 100-day incubation. Respiration was not altered with elevated CO2. C : N ratios of bulk SOM did not change with elevated CO2, but incubation data suggest that the C : N ratios of mineralized organic matter increased with elevated CO2. Values of SOM ,13C were depleted with elevated CO2 (,26.7±0.2 vs. ,30.2±0.3,), reflecting the depleted signature of the supplemental CO2. We compared ,13C of individual PLFA with the ,13C of SOM to discern incorporation of the depleted C isotopic signature into soil microbial groups in elevated CO2 plots. PLFA i15:0, a15:0, and 10Met18:0 reflected significant incorporation of recently produced photosynthate, suggesting that the bacterial groups defined by these biomarkers are active metabolizers in elevated CO2 soils. At least one of these groups (actinomycetes, 10Met18:0) specializes in metabolizing less labile substrates. Because control plots did not receive an equivalent 13C tracer, we cannot determine from these data whether this group of organisms was stimulated by elevated CO2 compared with these organisms in control soils. Stimulation of this group, if it occurred in the elevated CO2 plot, would be consistent with a decline in the availability of mineralizable organic matter with elevated CO2, which incubation data suggest may be the case in these soils. [source]

    Soil N dynamics in relation to leaf litter quality and soil fertility in north-western Patagonian forests

    JOURNAL OF ECOLOGY, Issue 2 2003
    Patricia Satti
    Summary 1We examined the relationships among soil N dynamics, soil chemistry and leaf litter quality in 28 forest stands dominated by conifers, woody broad-leaf deciduous species or broad-leaf evergreens. Potential net N mineralization, net nitrification and microbial biomass N were used as indicators of soil N dynamics; pH, organic C, total N, exchangeable cations and extractable P as indicators of soil chemistry and N concentration, lignin concentration, C : N ratio and lignin : N ratio in senescent leaves as indicators of leaf litter quality. N dynamics were assessed in two consecutive years with contrasting precipitation. 2Net N mineralization was lower in stands of the three conifers and one of three broad-leaf evergreen species than in stands of the other six broad-leaf species (40,77 vs. 87,250 mg N kg,1 after 16-week incubations) and higher in the wetter year. 3The proportion of N nitrified was high beneath most species regardless of mineralization rates, soil N fertility and leaf litter quality, and was significantly higher for the wetter year. Ammonium was the predominant form of N in three sites affected by seasonal waterlogging and in two sites the predominant form changed from ammonium in the drier year to nitrate during the wetter year, probably due to differences in soil texture affecting soil moisture. 4Net N mineralization was linearly related to microbial biomass N, implying that the microbial activity per biomass unit was quite similar beneath all species. Constant microbial biomass during the wetter year suggested that as mineralization/nitrification increased, there was a higher potential risk of N losses. 5Although the litter lignin : N ratio allowed differentiation of soil N dynamics between broad-leaf species and conifers, its constant value (23,28) in all broad-leaf species made it a poor predictor of the differences found within this group. Across all sites and between broad-leaf species, soil N dynamics were best explained by a combination of leaf litter lignin and soil chemistry indicators, particularly soil total N for net N mineralization and net nitrification, and soil organic C for microbial biomass N. [source]

    Fine-scale environmental variation and structure of understorey plant communities in two old-growth pine forests

    JOURNAL OF ECOLOGY, Issue 2 2003
    Lee E. Frelich
    Summary 1Although it is well established that nitrogen and light play major roles in structuring plant communities across the landscape, it is not as clear how they structure communities within forest stands. Virtually nothing is known about within-stand structure of understorey communities of herbs and small shrubs in near-boreal forests. 2We tested the hypothesis that fine-scale (5,20 m) variability in N and light structure forest-floor plant communities in two old-growth mixed Pinus resinosa and Pinus strobus forests in north-eastern Minnesota, USA. 3In each forest, all trees > 1.4 m tall were mapped on a 0.75,1.0 ha area. A grid of subplots 5,10 m apart was established (total n = 147), and N mineralization (µg g,1 soil day,1), soil depth (cm), light (% canopy openness), and percentage cover of all herbs and small shrubs were measured on each subplot. 4Cluster analysis showed that the dominant understorey species fall into three groups. Group 1 is unrelated to N and light, and is negatively associated with a midstorey of the small tree Acer rubrum and the most abundant tall shrub Corylus cornuta. Group 2 reaches maximum abundance in places (mostly gaps) with relatively high light, but is unrelated to within-stand variation in N availability. Group 3 consists of a single species, Aster macrophyllus, and reaches maximum abundance in areas with low N availability and low abundance of Corylus, but higher than average abundance of P. strobus and Betula papyrifera overstorey trees. 5N and light have a moderate influence on understorey plant community structure. The plant species do arrange themselves along N and light gradients, but the gradients are likely to be too narrow to allow the degree of differentiation seen at the landscape level. Spatial patterning of the species groups is probably influenced by other factors, including disturbance history, chance and neighbourhood effects such as clonal reproduction. [source]

    Methods for evaluating human impact on soil microorganisms based on their activity, biomass, and diversity in agricultural soils

    Rainer Georg Joergensen
    Abstract The present review is focused on microbiological methods used in agricultural soils accustomed to human disturbance. Recent developments in soil biology are analyzed with the aim of highlighting gaps in knowledge, unsolved research questions, and controversial results. Activity rates (basal respiration, N mineralization) and biomass are used as overall indices for assessing microbial functions in soil and can be supplemented by biomass ratios (C : N, C : P, and C : S) and eco-physiological ratios (soil organic C : microbial-biomass C, qCO2, qNmin). The community structure can be characterized by functional groups of the soil microbial biomass such as fungi and bacteria, Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria, or by biotic diversity. Methodological aspects of soil microbial indices are assessed, such as sampling, pretreatment of samples, and conversion factors of data into biomass values. Microbial-biomass C (µg (g soil),1) can be estimated by multiplying total PLFA (nmol (g soil),1) by the FPLFA -factor of 5.8 and DNA (µg (g soil),1) by the FDNA -factor of 6.0. In addition, the turnover of the soil microbial biomass is appreciated as a key process for maintaining nutrient cycles in soil. Examples are briefly presented that show the direction of human impact on soil microorganisms by the methods evaluated. These examples are taken from research on organic farming, reduced tillage, de-intensification of land-use management, degradation of peatland, slurry application, salinization, heavy-metal contamination, lignite deposition, pesticide application, antibiotics, TNT, and genetically modified plants. [source]

    Temperature functions of the rate coefficients of net N mineralization in sandy arable soils.

    Part I. Derivation from laboratory incubations
    Abstract This study aimed to experimentally determine adequate temperature functions for the rate coefficients of net N mineralization in sandy arable soils from NW Germany. Long-term laboratory incubations were carried out in seven sandy arable soils at 3°C, 10°C, 19°C, 28°C, and 35°C in order to derive the rate coefficients of a simultaneous two-pool first-order kinetic equation. Thereby we differentiated between a small, fast mineralizable N pool, comprising mainly fresh residues, and a larger, slowly mineralizable N pool of old, humified organic matter. The rate coefficients were plotted against temperature, and fits of several different functions were tested: Arrhenius, Q10, and multiple non-mechanistic equations. The two derived rate coefficients showed very different temperature functions. Especially in critical temperature ranges (<5/10°C, >30/35°C) common Q10 functions failed to fit well, and, only below 10°C, the Arrhenius functions were in agreement with mean measured rate coefficients. Over the studied temperature range, only relatively complex, multiple equations could adequately account for the observed patterns. In addition, temperature functions that have been derived earlier from loess soils from NW Germany were found not to be transferable to the sandy arable soils studied. Thus, the results strongly question the use of the same Arrhenius or Q10 function or the same rate modifying factor for different N pools as well as for different soils as is generally done in models. Evaluations with field measurements of net N mineralization in part II of the paper (Heumann and Böttcher, 2004) will show which functions perform best in the field. Die Temperaturfunktionen der Reaktionskoeffizienten der N-Nettomineralisation in sandigen Ackerböde nI. Ableitung aus Laborinkubationen Untersuchungsziel war die experimentelle Bestimmung adäquater Temperaturfunktionen für die Reaktionskoeffizienten der N-Nettomineralisation in sandigen Ackerböden NW-Deutschlands. Anhand von Langzeit-Laborinkubationen bei 3, 10, 19, 28 und 35,°C wurden für sieben sandige Ackerböden die Reaktionskoeffizienten zweier N-Pools mit Reaktionskinetik erster Ordnung ermittelt. Dadurch konnte zwischen einem kleineren, schnell mineralisierbaren N-Pool, der hauptsächlich frische Residuen umfasst, und einem größeren, langsam mineralisierbaren N-Pool aus überwiegend alter humifizierter organischer Substanz unterschieden werden. Die ermittelten Reaktionskoeffizienten wurden gegen die Temperatur aufgetragen und verschiedene Funktionen angepasst: Arrhenius-, Q10 - und multiple nicht-mechanistische Gleichungen. Die Temperaturfunktionen der beiden Reaktionskoeffizienten unterschieden sich stark. Besonders innerhalb kritischer Temperaturbereiche (<5/10,°C, >30/35,°C) war die Übereinstimmung üblicher Q10 -Funktionen schlecht, und nur unterhalb von 10,°C stimmten die Arrhenius-Funktionen mit den mittleren gemessenen Reaktionskoeffizienten überein. Über den gesamten untersuchten Temperaturbereich konnten nur relativ komplexe, multiple Gleichungen die beobachteten Verläufe angemessen nachzeichnen. Weiterhin waren die Temperaturfunktionen, die ehemals an norddeutschen Lössböden ermittelt wurden, nicht auf die untersuchten sandigen Ackerböden übertragbar. Daher stellen die Ergebnisse den Gebrauch derselben Arrhenius- oder Q10 -Funktion sowie gleicher Ratenfaktoren für verschiedene N-Pools und auch für verschiedene Böden stark in Frage. In Teil II der Arbeit (Heumann and Böttcher, 2004) wird anhand einer Überprüfung mit Messungen der N-Nettomineralisation im Feld gezeigt, welche Funktionen die beste Übereinstimmung im Freiland erbringen. [source]

    Temperature functions of the rate coefficients of net N mineralization in sandy arable soils.

    Part II.
    Abstract The aim of this study was to evaluate experimentally derived temperature functions for the rate coefficients of net N mineralization in sandy arable soils from NW Germany via field measurements. In part I of this paper (Heumann and Böttcher, 2004), different temperature functions for the rate coefficients of a two-pool first-order kinetic equation were derived by long-term laboratory incubations at 3°C to 35°C. In this paper, field net N mineralization during winter of 25 plots was measured in undisturbed soil columns with a diameter of 20,cm to the depth of the Ap horizon. Mean simulated net N mineralization with the most adequate multiple functions corresponded also best with the mean of the measured values despite of an overestimation of about 10%. Distinctly larger deviations under use of other temperature functions (Arrhenius, Q10) were directly related to their deviations from mean, experimentally derived rate coefficients. Simulated net N mineralization in the soil columns was significantly correlated with measured values, regardless of the temperature functions. Yet the goodness of fit was generally relatively low due to the spatial variability of measured net N mineralization within replicate soil columns, although the mean CV (38%) was by far not extraordinary. The pool of slowly mineralizable N contributed considerably to net N mineralization during four to five winter months, on an average 10.0 kg N ha,1, about one third of total simulated N mineralization. Sometimes, it contributed even 21.3 kg N ha,1, which is almost sufficient to reach the EU drinking-water limit for nitrate in these soils. Simulations with widely used functions that were once derived from loess soils overestimated mineralization from pool Nslow in the studied sandy arable soils by a factor of two. Die Temperaturfunktionen der Reaktionskoeffizienten der N-Nettomineralisation in sandigen Ackerböde nII. Überprüfung anhand von Mineralisationsmessungen im Freiland Ziel dieser Untersuchung war die Überprüfung experimentell ermittelter Temperaturfunktionen für die Reaktionskoeffizienten der N-Nettomineralisation in sandigen Ackerböden NW-Deutschlands anhand von Freilandmessungen. In Teil I der Arbeit (Heumann and Böttcher, 2004) wurden verschiedene Temperaturfunktionen für die Reaktionskoeffizienten zweier N-Pools mit Reaktionskinetik erster Ordnung mittels Langzeit-Laborinkubationen bei 3 bis 35°C bestimmt. In diesem Artikel wurde von 25 Plots die winterliche N-Nettomineralisation im Freiland in ungestörten Bodensäulen mit einem Durchmesser von 20,cm bis zur Tiefe des Ap-Horizontes gemessen. Im Mittel gaben die Simulationen mit den am besten passenden, multiplen Funktionen die Messergebnisse auch am besten wieder, trotz einer Überschätzung um etwa 10%. Deutlich größere Abweichungen bei Benutzung anderer Temperaturfunktionen (Arrhenius, Q10) standen in direkter Beziehung zu deren Abweichungen von den mittleren, experimentell ermittelten Reaktionskoeffizienten. Die simulierte N-Nettomineralisation war unabhängig von den Temperaturfunktionen signifikant mit den Messergebnissen korreliert. Jedoch war die Güte der Anpassung im Allgemeinen relativ niedrig aufgrund der räumlichen Variabilität der gemessenen N-Nettomineralisation innerhalb der einzelnen Säulen eines Plots, obwohl der mittlere CV (38%) bei weitem nicht außergewöhnlich war. Der langsam mineralisierbare N-Pool trug beträchtlich zur N-Nettomineralisation innerhalb von vier bis fünf Wintermonaten bei, durchschnittlich 10,0 kg N ha,1, etwa ein Drittel der gesamten simulierten N-Mineralisation. In manchen Böden waren es sogar 21,3 kg N ha,1, was fast ausreicht, um den EU-Trinkwassergrenzwert für Nitrat in diesen Böden zu erreichen. Simulationen mit häufig benutzten Funktionen, die ursprünglich an Lössböden ermittelt wurden, überschätzten die Mineralisation aus dem Pool Nslow in den untersuchten Sandböden um den Faktor zwei. [source]

    Effect of the nitrification inhibitor nitrapyrin on the fate of nitrogen applied to a soil incubated under laboratory conditions

    M. Kaleem Abbasi
    Abstract The aim of this study was to examine the effect of the nitrification inhibitor nitrapyrin on the fate and recovery of fertilizer nitrogen (N) and on N mineralization from soil organic sources. Intact soil cores were collected from a grassland field. Diammonium phosphate (DAP) and urea were applied as N sources. Cores were equilibrated at ,5 kPa matric potential and incubated at 20,°C for 42 to 56 days. Changes in NH4+ -N, accumulation of NO3, -N, apparent recovery of applied N, and emission of N2O (acetylene was used to block N2O reductase) were examined during the study. A significant increase in NH4+ -N released through mineralization was recorded when nitrapyrin was added to the control soil without N fertilizer application. In the soils to which N was added either as urea or DAP, 50,90,% of the applied N disappeared from the NH4+ -N pool. Some of this N (8,16,%) accumulated as NO3, -N, while a small proportion of N (1,%) escaped as N2O. Addition of nitrapyrin resulted in a decrease and delay of NH4+ -N disappearance, accumulation of much lower soil NO3, -N contents, a substantial reduction in N2O emissions, and a 30,40,% increase in the apparent recovery of added N. The study indicates that N recovery can be increased by using the nitrification inhibitor nitrapyrin in grassland soils at moisture condition close to field capacity. No translation. [source]

    Soil biochemical and chemical changes in relation to mature spruce (Picea abies) forest conversion and regeneration

    Zheke Zhong
    Abstract To investigate soil changes from forest conversion and regeneration, soil net N mineralization, potential nitrification, microbial biomass N, L-asparaginase, L-glutaminase, and other chemical and biological properties were examined in three adjacent stands: mature pure and dense Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst) (110 yr) (stand I), mature Norway spruce mixed with young beech (Fagus sylvatica) (5 yr) (stand II), and young Norway spruce (16 yr) (stand III). The latter two stands were converted or regenerated from the mature Norway spruce stand as former. The studied soils were characterized as having a very low pH value (2.9 , 3.5 in 0.01 M CaCl2), a high total N content (1.06 , 1.94,%), a high metabolic quotient (qCO2) (6.7 , 16.9 g CO2 kg,1 h,1), a low microbial biomass N (1.1 , 3.3,% of total N, except LOf1 at stand III), and a relatively high net N mineralization (175 , 1213 mg N kg,1 in LOf1 and Of2, 4 weeks incubation). In the converted forest (stand II), C,:,N ratio and qCO2 values in the LOf1 layer decreased significantly, and base saturation and exchangeable Ca showed a somewhat increment in mineral soil. In the regenerated forest (stand III), the total N storage in the surface layers decreased by 30,%. The surface organic layers (LOf1, Of2) possessed a very high net N mineralization (1.5 , 3 times higher than those in other two stands), high microbial biomass (C, N), and high basal respiration and qCO2 values. Meanwhile, in the Oh layer, the base saturation and the exchangeable Ca decreased. All studied substrates showed little net nitrification after the first period of incubation (2 weeks). In the later period of incubation (7 , 11 weeks), a considerable amount of NO3 -N accumulated (20 , 100,% of total cumulative mineral N) in the soils from the two pure spruce stands (I, III). In contrast, there was almost no net NO3 -N accumulation in the soils from the converted mixed stand (II) indicating that there was a difference in microorganisms in the two types of forest ecosystems. Soil microbial biomass N, mineral N, net N mineralization, L-asparaginase, and L-glutaminase were correlated and associated with forest management. Chemische und biochemische Veränderungen der Bodeneigenschaften durch Verjüngung und Waldumbau eines Fichtenaltbestandes Um die durch den Waldumbau und die Regeneration bedingten Standortsveränderungen zu untersuchen, wurden die Netto-Stickstoffmineralisierung, die potenzielle Nitrifikation, der mikrobiell gebundene Stickstoff (Nmic), L-Asparaginase, L-Glutaminase sowie weitere chemische und biologische Parameter an drei benachbarten Standorten untersucht: Standort I, reiner Fichtenaltbestand (Picea abies (L.) Karst ,110 Jahre); Standort II, Fichtenaltbestand mit Buchenunterbau (Fagus sylvatica , 5 Jahre); Standort III, reine Fichtenaufforstung (16 Jahre). Die Standorte II und III entstanden infolge des Waldumbaus aus reinen Fichtenaltbeständen. Die untersuchten Böden sind gekennzeichnet durch sehr niedrige pH-Werte (pH(H2O) 3, 7 , 4, 2, pH (CaCl2) 2, 9 , 3, 5), hohe Gesamtstickstoffgehalte (1, 06 , 1, 94,%), hohe metabolische Quotienten (6, 7,16, 9g CO2 kg,1 h,1), geringe Nmic -Gehalte (1, 1 , 3, 3,% des Gesamt-N, ausgenommen LOf1 von Standort III) und eine relativ hohe N-Nettomineralisation (175 , 1213 mg N Kg,1 in LOf1 und Of2, nach 4 Wochen Inkubation). Am Standort II nahm das C,:,N-Verhältnis und der qCO2 im LOf1 -Horizont deutlich ab, wohingegen der Gehalt an austauschbarem Ca sowie die Basensättigung im Mineralboden geringfügig zunahmen. Am Standort III nahm der N-Vorrat (Auflagehumus + Mineralboden 0 , 10,cm) um 30,% ab. In den LOf1 - und Of2 -Lagen des Auflagehumus dieses Standortes traten eine hohe N-Nettomineralisation (1, 5- bis 3fach höher als in den Standorten I und II), hohe Gehalte an mikrobiell gebundenem C und N, eine erhöhte Basalatmung sowie erhöhte qCO2 -Werte auf. In den Oh-Lagen hingegen nahm die Basensättigung ab. Alle untersuchten Standorte zeigten in der ersten Periode der Inkubation (0 bis 2 Wochen) eine geringe Netto-Nitrifikation. An den Standorten I und III fand in der späteren Periode (7. bis 11. Woche) eine Anreicherung an NO3 (20 , 100,% des gesamten mineralischen N-Vorrates) statt. Im Gegensatz dazu wurde am Standort II keine NO3 -N- Anreicherung festgestellt. Dies deutet auf einen Unterschied in der Zusammensetzung der mikrobiellen Gemeinschaften in den zwei verschiedenen Forstökosystemen hin. Nmic, N-Nettomineralisation, L-Asparaginase und L-Glutaminase korrelieren miteinander und zeigen eine enge Beziehung zu den Bewirtschaftungsformen. [source]

    Relationship between soil nutrient availability and plant species richness in a tropical semi-arid environment

    Yareni Perroni-Ventura
    Abstract Question: What is the relationship between soil fertility and plant species richness in the ,fertile islands' occurring beneath two species of legume (Cercidium praecox and Prosopis laevigata)? Location: Tehuacán-Cuicatlán region, central Mexico. Methods: Plant richness was measured in three micro-environments (below canopies of C. praecox, below canopies of P. laevigata and in areas without canopies). The concentration of soil nutrients (C, N and P), C and N in the microbiota, and processes of ecosystem functioning (net C mineralization rate and N mineralization) were measured. The relationship between soil variables and plant richness were assessed with ANCOVAs. Results: Soil nutrients and species richness increases markedly under fertility islands. There were higher concentrations of C and N in the soil, faster rates of C mineralization, and higher species richness under P. laevigata canopies. The relationship between soil fertility and species richness was always positive except for total N, ammonium and net C mineralization rate under C. praecox, and for available P under P. laevigata. Conclusions: The sign of the relationship between soil fertility and species richness varies according to the nutrient and the micro-environment. Positive relationships could result from between species complementarity and facilitation. Negative relationships could be explained by a specific limitation threshold for some soil resources (P and N for plants and C for the soil microbiota) which eliminate the possibilities of between species complementarity and facilitation above that threshold. As in all observational studies, these relationships should be considered only correlational. [source]

    CO2 enrichment increases carbon and nitrogen input from fine roots in a deciduous forest

    NEW PHYTOLOGIST, Issue 3 2008
    Colleen M. Iversen
    Summary ,,Greater fine-root production under elevated [CO2] may increase the input of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) to the soil profile because fine root populations turn over quickly in forested ecosystems. ,,Here, the effect of elevated [CO2] was assessed on root biomass and N inputs at several soil depths by combining a long-term minirhizotron dataset with continuous, root-specific measurements of root mass and [N]. The experiment was conducted in a CO2 -enriched sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) plantation. ,,CO2 enrichment had no effect on root tissue density or [N] within a given diameter class. Root biomass production and standing crop were doubled under elevated [CO2]. Though fine-root turnover declined under elevated [CO2], fine-root mortality was also nearly doubled under CO2 enrichment. Over 9 yr, root mortality resulted in 681 g m,2 of extra C and 9 g m,2 of extra N input to the soil system under elevated [CO2]. At least half of these inputs were below 30 cm soil depth. ,,Increased C and N input to the soil under CO2 enrichment, especially below 30 cm depth, might alter soil C storage and N mineralization. Future research should focus on quantifying root decomposition dynamics and C and N mineralization deeper in the soil. [source]

    Evidence for top predator control of a grazing ecosystem

    OIKOS, Issue 11 2008
    Douglas A. Frank
    The importance of top predators in controlling ecological processes in large, intact ecosystems is unclear. In grasslands that support abundant ungulates, top,down control by predators may be particularly important, because of the tight biogeochemical linkages of ungulate prey with plants and soil microbes. Here, I examined the effects of the recent reintroduction of the gray wolf Canis lupus on ecosystem processes in Yellowstone National Park, where herds of grazing ungulates previously have been shown to stimulate several processes, including soil net nitrogen (N) mineralization. Rates of ungulate grazing intensity and soil net N mineralization were compared before and after wolf reintroduction in grasslands ranging five-fold in aboveground production. Grazing intensity and grassland net N mineralization declined after wolf reintroduction, a likely partial function of fewer ungulates; wolf predation has been one of several factors implicated in causing the decline in Yellowstone ungulates. In addition, the spatial pattern of grazing and net N mineralization changed after reintroduction. A shift in the spatial patterns of grazer-associated processes is consistent with a growing body of work indicating that wolves have changed habitat use patterns of ungulates in Yellowstone National Park. These findings suggest widespread wolf effects on ungulate prey, plants, and microbial activity that have spatially reorganized grassland energy and nutrient dynamics in Yellowstone Park. [source]

    Non-symbiotic nitrogen fixation during leaf litter decomposition in an old-growth temperate rain forest of Chiloé Island, southern Chile: Effects of single versus mixed species litter

    AUSTRAL ECOLOGY, Issue 2 2010
    Abstract Heterotrophic nitrogen fixation is a key ecosystem process in unpolluted, temperate old-growth forests of southern South America as a source of new nitrogen to ecosystems. Decomposing leaf litter is an energy-rich substrate that favours the occurrence of this energy demanding process. Following the niche ,complementarity hypothesis', we expected that decomposing leaf litter of a single tree species would support lower rates of non-symbiotic N fixation than mixed species litter taken from the forest floor. To test this hypothesis we measured acetylene reduction activity in the decomposing monospecific litter of three evergreen tree species (litter C/N ratios, 50,79) in an old-growth rain forest of Chiloé Island, southern Chile. Results showed a significant effect of species and month (anova, Tukey's test, P < 0.05) on decomposition and acetylene reduction rates (ARR), and a species effect on C/N ratios and initial % N of decomposing leaf litter. The lowest litter quality was that of Nothofagus nitida (C/N ratio = 78.7, lignin % = 59.27 ± 4.09), which resulted in higher rates of acetylene reduction activity (mean = 34.09 ± SE = 10.34 nmol h,1 g,1) and a higher decomposition rate (k = 0.47) than Podocarpus nubigena (C/N = 54.4, lignin % = 40.31 ± 6.86, Mean ARR = 4.11 ± 0.71 nmol h,1 g,1, k = 0.29), and Drimys winteri (C/N = 50.6, lignin % = 45.49 ± 6.28, ARR = 10.2 ± 4.01 nmol h,1 g,1, k = 0.29), and mixed species litter (C/N = 60.7, ARR = 8.89 ± 2.13 nmol h,1g,1). We interpret these results as follows: in N-poor litter and high lignin content of leaves (e.g. N. nitida) free-living N fixers would be at competitive advantage over non-fixers, thereby becoming more active. Lower ARR in mixed litter can be a consequence of a lower litter C/N ratio compared with single species litter. We also found a strong coupling between in situ acetylene reduction and net N mineralization in surface soils, suggesting that as soon N is fixed by diazotroph bacteria it may be immediately incorporated into mineral soil by N mineralizers, thus reducing N immobilization. [source]

    Grazing and landscape controls on nitrogen availability across 330 South African savanna sites

    AUSTRAL ECOLOGY, Issue 7 2009
    Abstract The availability of nitrogen (N) is an important determinant of ecosystem and community dynamics for grasslands and savannas, influencing factors such as biomass productivity, plant and herbivore composition, and losses of N to waters and the atmosphere. To better understand the controls over N availability at landscape to regional scales, we quantified a range of plant and soil characteristics at each of 330 sites in three regions of South Africa: Kruger National Park (KNP), private game reserves adjacent to KNP (private protected areas , PPAs) and Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park (HiP). In comparing regions and sites within regions, grazing appeared to have a strong influence on N availability. Sites in the PPAs adjacent to KNP as well as sodic and alluvial sites in general typically had the highest N availability. The high N availability of these sites was not generally associated with greater potential N mineralization, but instead with less grass biomass and more forb biomass that indicated greater grazing pressure. Whereas sodic sites had a long history of high N availability as evidenced by their high soil ,15N, the greater N availability in the PPAs over the two parks appeared to be relatively recent. Grazer biomass, average potential mineralization rates and grass biomass for HiP were greater than KNP, yet there were no differences in N availability as indexed by soil and foliar ,15N between sites in the two parks. Although the short-term increase in N availability in PPAs is not necessarily deleterious, it is uncertain whether current productivity levels in those ecosystems is sustainable. With differences in management causing herbivore biomass to be 150% greater in the PPAs than the adjacent KNP, changes in plant communities and nitrogen cycling might lead to long-term degradation of these ecosystems, their ability to sustain herbivore populations, and also serve as an economic resource for the region. [source]

    Litterfall dynamics and nitrogen use efficiency in two evergreen temperate rainforests of southern Chile

    AUSTRAL ECOLOGY, Issue 6 2003
    Abstract In unpolluted regions, where inorganic nitrogen (N) inputs from the atmosphere are minimal, such as remote locations in southern South America, litterfall dynamics and N use efficiency of tree species should be coupled to the internal N cycle of forest ecosystems. This hypothesis was examined in two evergreen temperate forests in southern Chile (42°30'S), a mixed broad-leaved forest (MBF) and a conifer forest (CF). Although these forests grow under the same climate and on the same parental material, they differ greatly in floristic structure and canopy dynamics (slower in the CF). In both forests, biomass, N flux, and C/N ratios of fine litterfall were measured monthly from May 1995 to March 1999. There was a continuous litter flux over the annual cycle in both forests, with a peak during autumn in the CF. In the MBF, litterfall decreased during spring. In both forests, the C/N ratios of litterfall varied over the annual cycle with a maximum in autumn. Annual litterfall biomass flux (Mean ± SD = 3.3 ± 0.5 vs 2.0 ± 0.5 Mg ha -1) and N return (34.8 ± 16 vs 9.1 ± 2.8 kg N ha -1) were higher in the MBF than in the CF. At the ecosystem level, litterfall C/N was lower in the MBF (mean C/N ratio = 60.1 ± 15, n= 3 years) suggesting decreased N use efficiency compared with CF (mean C/N ratio = 103 ± 19.6, n= 3 years). At the species level, subordinated (subcanopy) tree species in the MBF had significantly lower C/N ratios (<50) of litterfall than the dominant trees in the CF and MBF (>85). The litterfall C/N ratio and percentage N retranslocated were significantly correlated and were lower in the MBF. The higher net N mineralization in soils of the MBF is related to a lower N use efficiency at the ecosystem and species level. [source]