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Interspecific plant competition increases soil labile organic carbon and nitrogen contents

journal contribution
posted on 31.08.2020, 00:00 by M Wang, J Yang, H Gao, M Dong, G Shen, J Xue, Chengyuan XuChengyuan Xu
Plant competition can impose species-specific effects on the dynamics of soil carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) through rhizosphere processes and litter input. Therefore, it is crucial to quantify these effects in various terrestrial ecosystems for a better understanding of the mechanisms. Here, we collected subsoils containing low N from a subtropical forest and planted eight dominant tree species (two deciduous and six evergreens) in these soils in a greenhouse to explore the effects of interspecific plant competition on plant growth, soil C and N contents, and soil C and N mineralization rates after the plants had grown for 12 months. Soil labile organic C and N contents were represented by soil extractable organic C (EOC) and extractable organic N (EON) contents. We assessed the magnitude of the interspecific plant competition via the relative interaction intensity (RII) index, which was calculated from the biomass of seedlings in the mixed treatments compared with the single treatments. Our results showed that interspecific plant competition had species-specific effects on plant biomass and soil total C and N contents as well as soil C mineralization rates, whereas it tended to decrease soil N mineralization rates. However, interspecific plant competition significantly decreased plant C and N contents, and significantly increased soil EOC and EON contents with increasing RII. After classifying the communities into two functional types (i.e., deciduous–evergreen versus evergreen–evergreen), similar relationships were observed. These findings address the importance of quantifying interspecific plant competition on soil labile organic C and N contents, which is helpful for understanding soil C and N cycling in forest ecosystems. © 2020 Elsevier B.V.

Funding

Other

History

Volume

462

Start Page

1

End Page

10

Number of Pages

10

eISSN

1872-7042

ISSN

0378-1127

Publisher

Elsevier

Peer Reviewed

Yes

Open Access

No

Acceptance Date

13/02/2020

External Author Affiliations

Chinese Academy of Sciences, East China Normal University, China; Scion, NZ

Era Eligible

Yes

Journal

Forest Ecology and Management