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Open AccessArticle

Nitrogen Additions Retard Nutrient Release from Two Contrasting Foliar Litters in a Subtropical Forest, Southwest China

Long-term Research Station of Alpine Forest Ecosystems, Key Laboratory of Ecological Forestry Engineering, Institute of Ecology and Forestry, Sichuan Agricultural University, Chengdu 611130, China
Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Agrosphere (IBG-3), 52428 Jülich, Germany
Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research-UFZ, Department of Community Ecology, Theodor-Lieser-Strasse 4, 06110 Halle (Saale), Germany
Global Ecology Unit CREAF-CSIC-UAB, CSIC, Barcelona, 08193 Catalonia, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Forests 2020, 11(4), 377;
Received: 1 February 2020 / Revised: 13 March 2020 / Accepted: 23 March 2020 / Published: 27 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)
Litter decomposition plays a critical role in regulating biogeochemical cycles in terrestrial ecosystems and is profoundly impacted by increasing atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition. Here, a N manipulation experiment was conducted to explore the effects of N additions (0 kg N ha−1 yr−1, 20 kg N ha−1 yr−1 and 40 kg N ha−1 yr−1) on decay rates and nutrients release of two contrasting species, the evergreen and nutrient-poor Michelia wilsonii and the deciduous and nutrient-rich Camptotheca acuminata, using a litterbag approach at the western edge of the Sichuan Basin of China. The decay rate and the mineralization of N and phosphorus (P) was faster in nutrient-rich C. acuminata litter than in nutrient-poor M. wilsonii litter, regardless of N regimes. N additions tended to decrease the decay constant (k value) in M. wilsonii litter, but had no effect on C. acuminata litter. N additions had no significant effects on carbon (C) release of both litter types. N additions showed negative effects on N and P release of M. wilsonii litter, particularly in the late decomposition stage. Moreover, for C. acuminata litter, N additions did not affect N release, but retarded P release in the late stage. N additions did not affect the C:N ratio in both litter types. However, N additions—especially high-N addition treatments—tended to reduce C:P and N:P ratios in both species. The effect of N addition on N and P remaining was stronger in M. wilsonii litter than in C. acuminata litter. The results of this study indicate that N additions retarded the nutrients release of two foliar litters. Thus, rising N deposition might favor the retention of N and P via litter decomposition in this specific area experiencing significant N deposition. View Full-Text
Keywords: nitrogen deposition; litter decomposition; litter-residue quality; subtropical forest nitrogen deposition; litter decomposition; litter-residue quality; subtropical forest
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MDPI and ACS Style

Zhuang, L.; Liu, Q.; Liang, Z.; You, C.; Tan, B.; Zhang, L.; Yin, R.; Yang, K.; Bol, R.; Xu, Z. Nitrogen Additions Retard Nutrient Release from Two Contrasting Foliar Litters in a Subtropical Forest, Southwest China. Forests 2020, 11, 377.

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