Moderate grazing increased carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus storage in plants and soil in the Eurasian meadow steppe ecosystem

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Wang, M., Zhang, C., Chen, S., Zhang, Y., Yu, T., Xue, X., Wu, L., Zhou, W., Yun, X., Yan, R. and Bai, K. 2024. Moderate grazing increased carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus storage in plants and soil in the Eurasian meadow steppe ecosystem. Science of the Total Environment. 914, p. 169864. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.169864

AuthorsWang, M., Zhang, C., Chen, S., Zhang, Y., Yu, T., Xue, X., Wu, L., Zhou, W., Yun, X., Yan, R. and Bai, K.
Abstract

The effects of grazing on the cycling of carbon (C), nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) in grassland ecosystems are complex. Uncertainty still exists as regards the allocation of C, N and P storage amounts in grazed ecosystems in Inner Mongolia, situated at the eastern end of the Eurasian dryland. Based on the long-term cattle grazing experimental platform in the Hulun Buir meadow steppe of Inner Mongolia, a 3-year (2019–2021) field control experiment was conducted to assess how the grazing intensity influenced the quantities of C, N and P stored in canopy biomass, root, litter and soil compartments. We examined the relationships between the different pools and their regulatory pathways at the ecosystem level across six grazing intensities. In general, grazing increased the aboveground N and P contents but decreased the aboveground biomass C content and nutrient storage amounts in aboveground biomass, roots and litter. The grazing intensity of 0.34 AU ha−1 increased soil organic carbon, total nitrogen and total phosphorus storage amounts, with the soil accounting for 98 % of total reserves on average. Grazing affected soil pH, nutrient contents, above- and belowground biomass and soil environmental factors such as soil bulk density, which in turn affected C, N and P storage in the ecosystem according to the results of the structural equation model; therefore, grazing intensity can be an important factor regulating the input and output of nutrients in the ecosystem. In the future, for adaptive management of grasslands, moderate grazing could effectively increase C, N and P storage in meadow steppe ecosystems and ensure the nutrient balance and long-term sustainable development

KeywordsMeadow grassland; Grazing intensity; Ecosystem nutrient cycling; Nutrient storage
Year of Publication2024
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Journal citation914, p. 169864
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.169864
Open accessPublished as non-open access
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online05 Jan 2024
Publication process dates
Accepted31 Dec 2023
PublisherElsevier Science Bv
ISSN0048-9697

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