Levels and variations of soil organic carbon and total nitrogen among forests in a hotspot region of high nitrogen deposition.

Affiliation

Institute of Surface-Earth System Science, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, China. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Human activities have distinctly enhanced the deposition levels of atmospheric nitrogen (N) pollutants into terrestrial ecosystems, but whether and to what extents soil carbon (C) and N status have been influenced by elevated N inputs remain poorly understood in the 'real' world given related knowledge has largely based on N-addition experiments. Here we reported soil organic C (OC) and total N (TN) for twenty-seven forests along a gradient of N deposition (22.4-112.9 kg N/ha/yr) in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei (BTH) region of northern China, a global hotspot of high N pollution. Levels of soil TN in forests of the BTH region have been elevated compared with investigations in past decades, suggesting that long-term N deposition might cause soil TN increases. Combining with major geographical and environmental factors among the study forests, we found unexpectedly that soil moisture and pH values rather than N deposition levels were major regulators of the observed spatial variations of soil OC and TN contents. As soil moisture and pH values increased with mean annual precipitation and temperature, respectively, soil C and N status in forests of the BTH region might be more responsive to climate change than to N pollution. These evidence suggests that both N deposition and climate differences should be considered into managing ecosystem functions of forest resources in regions with high N pollution.

Keywords

Atmospheric nitrogen pollution,Forest ecosystem,Nitrogen deposition,Soil nitrogen status,Soil organic carbon,

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