Cumulative and partially recoverable impacts of nitrogen addition on a temperate steppe

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Hao, T., Song, L., Goulding, K. W. T., Zhang, F. and Liu, X. 2018. Cumulative and partially recoverable impacts of nitrogen addition on a temperate steppe. Ecological Applications. 28 (1), pp. 237-248.

AuthorsHao, T., Song, L., Goulding, K. W. T., Zhang, F. and Liu, X.
Abstract

Atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition has been shown to decrease biodiversity and change nutrient cycles in terrestrial ecosystems. However, our understanding of ecological responses to chronic N addition and ecological recovery of grassland from N enrichment is limited. Here we present evidence from an 11‐year grassland experiment with a range of N addition rates (0, 30, 60, 120, 240, and 480 kg N·ha−1·yr−1) in Inner Mongolia, China. Chronic N addition led to a reduction in species richness, Shannon diversity index, and soil pH and an increase in aboveground biomass, foliar N, and soil mineral N. High N addition rates (240 and 480 kg N·ha−1·yr−1) showed significant effects in the first and second years, which stabilized over time. Nitrogen addition at low rates (30 and 60 kg N·ha−1·yr−1) took longer (e.g., three years or more) to achieve significant effects. The negative impacts of high N addition (480 kg N·ha−1·yr−1) were reduced and species richness, Shannon diversity index, and soil pH showed a limited but rapid recovery with the cessation of N addition. Our findings suggest serious and cumulative impacts of N addition on plant and soil communities but the potential for partial system recovery over time if N inputs decline or cease.

Keywordsaboveground biomass; ecosystem restoration; grassland; nitrogen deposition; species composition; species richness
Year of Publication2018
JournalEcological Applications
Journal citation28 (1), pp. 237-248
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1002/eap.1647
Open accessPublished as green open access
FunderBBSRC Newton funding
Funder project or codeUK - China Virtual Joint Centre for Improved Nitrogen Agronomy (CINAG)
Publisher's version
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online07 Nov 2017
Publication process dates
Accepted19 Oct 2017
Copyright licenseCC BY
PublisherWiley-Blackwell
Wiley
ISSN1051-0761

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