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Differential responses of net N mineralization and nitrification to throughfall reduction in a Castanopsis hystrix plantation in southern China

Chen, L., Wen, Y., Zeng, J., Wang, H., Wang, J., Dell, B. and Liu, S. (2019) Differential responses of net N mineralization and nitrification to throughfall reduction in a Castanopsis hystrix plantation in southern China. Forest Ecosystems, 6 (1).

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Abstract

Background
Many regions in the world are experiencing changes in precipitation pattern, which likely impact soil nitrogen cycling and availability. However, we know little about how soil nitrogen processes respond to drought stress under climate change.

Methods
A continuous 5-year experiment of throughfall reduction treatment (TRT) was conducted in a Castanopsis hystrix plantation in subtropical China to assess how soil nitrogen processes responded to a change in precipitation. Net nitrogen transformation, soil properties, microbial biomass carbon (MBC) and nitrogen (MBN), and microbial community phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs as bacteria, fungi and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF)) were investigated in the wet and dry seasons over the period of the manipulation experiment.

Results
TRT had no significant effects on net ammonification rate (NAR) and nitrogen mineralization rate (NMR), and the unchanged NAR and NMR were mainly caused by the no change of soil nitrogen availability (i.e. NH4+-N, NO3−-N and dissolved organic nitrogen). However, TRT significantly increased net nitrification rate (NNR) in the wet season primarily due to the increase in NO3− concentration, and might be further caused by reduced NO3− leaching, denitrification or NO3−-N uptake in the TRT. Differently, TRT significantly decreased the NNR in the dry season, which might be linked to the limited SWC that resulted in greater microbial nitrate immobilization than gross nitrate mineralization. In addition, TRT significantly influenced the soil microbial community composition in 0–10 cm soil layer in the wet season, primarily due to the variations in NO3−-N, DOC and DON.

Conclusions
Precipitation reduction affected the NNR rather than NAR and NMR, and consequently, further affected soil N availability and N uptake by Castanopsis hystrix.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Springer Open
Copyright: © 2019 The Author(s).
United Nations SDGs: Goal 13: Climate Action
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/45887
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