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Changes in nitrogen transformation in forest soil representing the climate gradient of the Japanese archipelago

Shibata, Hideaki, Urakawa, Rieko, Toda, Hiroto, Inagaki, Yoshiyuki, Tateno, Ryunosuke, Koba, Keisuke, Nakanishi, Asami, Fukuzawa, Karibu, Yamasaki, Ayaka
Journal of forest research 2011 v.16 no.5 pp. 374-385
biogeochemical cycles, climate, field experimentation, forest soils, forests, growing season, leaching, nitrogen, soil sampling, soil temperature, Japan
Net nitrogen transformation was investigated under different climate conditions by soil transplantation and in situ incubation of forest surface soils using the resin-core method. Selected conditions were considered to reflect those of the natural climate gradient in the Japanese archipelago. Study sites were established in natural forests in northern Hokkaido (Uryu), northern Kanto (Kusaki), central Kinki (Kamigamo), and southern Kyushu (Takakuma), representing the northernmost to the southernmost island regions of Japan. Field experiments comparing soils incubated at “native” and “transplanted” sites were conducted from June 2008 to May 2009. Net production, accumulation, and leaching of soil ammonium (NH4 +) and nitrate (NO3 −) were measured at each of the sites during the growing season (June–October), the dormant season (November–May), and throughout the year. Net nitrate production was highest in Kusaki soil, especially during the growing season, whereas net ammonium production was highest in Uryu soil, the coldest site, especially during the dormant season. Net nitrate production increased significantly in soils transplanted to a warmer climate during the growing season. However, net ammonium production increased in soils transplanted to colder climates during the dormant season. These findings indicate that, with the exception of the infertile soil samples from Kamigamo, the range of natural climates in Japan has a significant effect on nitrogen availability in surface soil. In addition, the original characteristics of the nitrogen cycle of the surface soil from each native site were retained, even when marked changes in soil temperature (approximately 8°C) occurred after transplantation.