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Is glomalin an appropriate indicator of forest soil reactive nitrogen status?

Rotter, Pavel, Malý, Stanislav, Sáňka, Ondřej, Sáňka, Milan, Čižmár, David, Zbíral, Jiří, Čechmánková, Jarmila, Kalábová, Tereza
Zeitschrift für Pflanzenernährung und Bodenkunde 2017 v.180 no.6 pp. 694-704
A horizons, clay minerals, coniferous forests, conifers, deciduous forests, forest soils, glomalin, montane forests, nitrogen, soil organic carbon, species diversity, temperate forests, trees
In this paper we address total glomalin‐related soil protein (T‐GRSP) as a possible indicator of differences in forest soils related to reactive nitrogen and forest composition. We focused especially on the relationship between T‐GRSP (g kg⁻¹), soil organic carbon (SOC), and reactive nitrogen (Nᵣ) availability among different categories of temperate forests and different horizons. Our study included 105 sampling sites divided into 5 categories, which vary in elevation and tree species composition (coniferous, deciduous, mixed). We detected significantly higher T‐GRSP and SOC in the F+H horizon under conifers. We assume that this observation might be attributed to suppression of decomposition of T‐GRSP and SOC by nature of coniferous litter. The lack of significant differences in T‐GRSP/SOC among the categories and the positive correlations between T‐GRSP and SOC in most of the categories confirmed the strong relationship of T‐GRSP with SOC. We found a significantly higher content of T‐GRSP in the F+H horizon for all studied forest categories. However, the contribution of T‐GRSP to SOC is significantly higher in the A horizon, which might be caused by stabilization of glomalin by mineral fraction, including clay minerals or by the belowground origin of glomalin. We found the increase of SOC with increasing Nᵣ in the A horizon for most categories of forest. T‐GRSP follows this trend in the case of deciduous forests (decid), mixed forest (mixed), and mountain forests (mount). On the other hand, we detected a decrease of T‐GRSP with increasing Nᵣ in the F+H horizon of coniferous forests (conif). Moreover the T‐GRSP/SOC decreases with the increase of Nᵣ in the A horizon of conif, mixed and mount, which points to the higher sensitivity of forest with prevalence of coniferous trees. Our observations have confirmed an ecosystem‐specific relationship between T‐GRSP, SOC and Nᵣ. We concluded that T‐GRSP in combination with T‐GRSP/SOC has the potential to reveal qualitative changes in soil organic matter (SOM) connected with increasing Nᵣ.