Litter nutrient status plays an important role in driving litter decomposition and ecosystem nutrient cycling. Nitrogen (N) deposition could alter community-level litter nutrient status through both intra- and inter-specific pathways, but their relative importance remains unknown.
Scientists from Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, examined the responses of species- and community-level litter nutrient concentrations and N:P ratio after seven-year N addition in a semi-arid grassland of northern China.
They found thatcommunity composition strengthened the positive impacts of N addition on litter P concentration and N:P ratio. There were positive co-variations between intra- and inter-specific variation, indicating the consistency of community composition and intra-specific variation in their effects on litter P and N:P ratio.
Results from this study indicate that the imbalance of N and P following N enrichment would be much larger than the expectation based on the findings from species-level, and highlight that changes in community composition would be an unnegligible pathway in plant-mediated biogeochemical cycling.
This study entitled “Changes of community composition strengthen the positive effects of nitrogen deposition on litter N:P stoichiometry in a semi-arid grassland” has been published in Plant and Soil.
This study was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China and the National Key Research and Development Program of China.