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
Accepted author manuscript
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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