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Location: Home > Research > Research Progress
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The Effects of N Addition on the Carbon Composition of Terrestrial Ecosystem

Rencent years, the level of global N deposition has been increasing. This affects the Ecosystem Carbon cycling, not only C storage, but also the Carbon quality-the composition of Carbon compounds such as lignin, cellulose and carbonhydrads. This change may affect the stability of ecosystem, so it becomes a research hotspot. Since the complexity of ecosystems and differences in methodology used in the experiments, there has not been comprehensive understanding in the effect.

To deepen the understanding on the effect, the research worker LIU Jun and his co-workers compiled data of 1,160 observations from 52 individual studies and conducted a meta-analysis of N addition effects on 18 variables related to C chemical compositions in terrestrial ecosystems. Results showed that plant lignin (+7.13%), plant protein (+25.94%), and soil lignin (+7.30%) were significantly increased by N addition, and plant hemicellulose (−4.39%) was significantly decreased, whereas plant fiber, plant cellulose, plant non-structural carbohydrate (NSC), litter lignin, and litter cellulose were not significantly changed. The effects of N addition on C chemical composition varied among different ecosystems/plant types and different forms of N addition. Increasing treatment duration did not significantly change the effects of N addition on the chemical composition of plant, litter, and soil C. With increasing N addition rate, the effect of N addition on plant lignin, plant fiber, plant cellulose, and plant protein increased, while the effect of N addition on plant hemicellulose, plant NSC, and litter cellulose became more negative. Results suggest that the change of plant and soil C chemical composition under N addition may be beneficial for ecosystem C sequestration and could affect ecosystem structure and function in the future.

The results were published in Ecology entitled as Nitrogen Addition Affects Chemical Compositions of Plant Tissues, Litter and Soil Organic Matter. The work was supported by  National Young 073 Project (2014CB954400), NNSFC (3152201041175138) and the National Key Lab of Forest and Soil Ecology(20121083).

 

Full text URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1890/15-1683.1/full

Abstract:  Increasing nitrogen (N) deposition or fertilization has been found to significantly affect carbon (C) cycling. However, a comprehensive understanding of how different C chemical components of plant, litter, and soil would respond to external N addition is still lacking. We compiled data of 1,160 observations from 52 individual studies and conducted a meta-analysis of N addition effects on 18 variables related to C chemical compositions in terrestrial ecosystems. Results showed that plant lignin (+7.13%), plant protein (+25.94%), and soil lignin (+7.30%) were significantly increased by N addition, and plant hemicellulose (−4.39%) was significantly decreased, whereas plant fiber, plant cellulose, plant non-structural carbohydrate (NSC), litter lignin, and litter cellulose were not significantly changed. The effects of N addition on C chemical composition varied among different ecosystems/plant types and different forms of N addition. Increasing treatment duration did not significantly change the effects of N addition on the chemical composition of plant, litter, and soil C. With increasing N addition rate, the effect of N addition on plant lignin, plant fiber, plant cellulose, and plant protein increased, while the effect of N addition on plant hemicellulose, plant NSC, and litter cellulose became more negative. Our meta-analysis provided a systematic evaluation of the responses of different C chemical components to N addition in the plant–litter–soil continuum. Results suggest that the change of plant and soil C chemical composition under N addition may be beneficial for ecosystem C sequestration and could affect ecosystem structure and function in the future.

Publication Name:Liu Jun, Wu Nana, Wang Hui, Sun Jianfei, Peng Bo, Jiang Ping, Bai Edith.

Email: jiangp@iae.ac.cn.  

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  • Nitrogen addition affects chemical compositions of plant tissues, litter and soil organic matter
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