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Combined effects of nitrogen addition and organic matter manipulation on soil respiration in a Chinese pine forest

Wang, Jinsong, Wu, L., Zhang, Chunyu, Zhao, Xiuhai, Bu, Wensheng, Gadow, Klaus V.
Environmental science and pollution research international 2016 v.23 no.22 pp. 22701-22710
Pinus tabuliformis, carbon, carbon dioxide, coniferous forests, ecosystems, fertilizers, growing season, microbial biomass, models, nitrogen, organic matter, soil, soil microorganisms, soil respiration, uncertainty, urea
The response of soil respiration (Rs) to nitrogen (N) addition is one of the uncertainties in modelling ecosystem carbon (C). We reported on a long-term nitrogen (N) addition experiment using urea (CO(NH₂)₂) fertilizer in which Rs was continuously measured after N addition during the growing season in a Chinese pine forest. Four levels of N addition, i.e. no added N (N0: 0 g N m⁻² year⁻¹), low-N (N1: 5 g N m⁻² year⁻¹), medium-N (N2: 10 g N m⁻² year⁻¹), and high-N (N3: 15 g N m⁻² year⁻¹), and three organic matter treatments, i.e. both aboveground litter and belowground root removal (LRE), only aboveground litter removal (LE), and intact soil (CK), were examined. The Rs was measured continuously for 3 days following each N addition application and was measured approximately 3–5 times during the rest of each month from July to October 2012. N addition inhibited microbial heterotrophic respiration by suppressing soil microbial biomass, but stimulated root respiration and CO₂ release from litter decomposition by increasing either root biomass or microbial biomass. When litter and/or root were removed, the “priming” effect of N addition on the Rs disappeared more quickly than intact soil. This is likely to provide a point of view for why Rs varies so much in response to exogenous N and also has implications for future determination of sampling interval of Rs measurement.