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Comparing watershed black locust afforestation and natural revegetation impacts on soil nitrogen on the Loess Plateau of China
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Title

Comparing watershed black locust afforestation and natural revegetation impacts on soil nitrogen on the Loess Plateau of China

Authors

Jin, Z; Li, XR; Wang, YQ; Wang, Y; Wang, KB; Cui, BL

Abstract

This study examined a pair of neighbouring small watersheds with contrasting vegetations: artificial forestland and natural grassland. Since 1954, afforestation which mainly planted with black locust has been conducted in one of these watersheds and natural revegetation in the other. The differences in soil total N, nitrate, ammonium, foliar litterfall δ15N and dual stable isotopes of δ15N and δ18 in soil nitrate were investigated in the two ecosystems. Results showed that there was no significant difference in soil total N storage between the two ecosystems, but the black locust forestland presented higher soil nitrate than the grassland. Moreover, the foliar litterfall N content and δ15N of the forestland were significant higher than the grassland. These results indicate that 60 years of watershed black locust afforestation have increased soil N availability. The higher nitrate in the forestland was attributed to the biological N fixation of black locust and difference in ecosystem hydrology. The dual stable isotopes of δ15N and δ18revealed that the two ecosystems had different sources of soil nitrate. The soil nitrate in the forestland was likely derived from soil N nitrification, while the soil nitrate in the grassland was probably derived from the legacy of NO3- fertiliser.

Corresponding author

Jin Zhao

Volume

6

Issue

 

Page

25048

Pub year

April, 2016

Publication name

Scientific Reports

Details

http://www.nature.com/articles/srep25048  

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