Managed grassland alters soil N dynamics and N2O emissions in temperate steppe


Lijun Xu , Xingliang Xu , Xuejuan Tang , Xiaoping Xin , Liming Ye , Guixia Yang , Huajun Tang , Shijie Lv , Dawei Xu , Zhao Zhang

DOI:10.1016/j.jes.2017.04.003

Received February 26, 2017,Revised March 17, 2017, Accepted April 07, 2017, Available online April 20, 2017

Volume 66,2018,Pages 20-30

Reclamation of degraded grasslands as managed grasslands has been increasingly accelerated in recent years in China. Land use change affects soil nitrogen (N) dynamics and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions. However, it remains unclear how large-scale grassland reclamation will impact the grassland ecosystem as a whole. Here, we investigated the effects of the conversion from native to managed grasslands on soil N dynamics and N2O emissions by field experiments in Hulunber in northern China. Soil (0–10 cm), nitrate (NO3), ammonium (NH4+), and microbial N were measured in plots in a temperate steppe (Leymus chinensis grassland) and two managed grasslands (Medicago sativa and Bromus inermis grasslands) in 2011 and 2012. The results showed conversion of L. chinensis grassland to M. sativa or B. inermis grasslands decreased concentrations of NO3–N, but did not change NH4+–N. Soil microbial N was slightly decreased by the conversion of L. chinensis grassland to M. sativa, but increased by the conversion to B. inermis. The conversion of L. chinensis grassland to M. sativa (i.e., a legume grass) increased N2O emissions by 26.2%, while the conversion to the B. inermis (i.e., a non-legume grass) reduced N2O emissions by 33.1%. The conversion from native to managed grasslands caused large created variations in soil NO3–N and NH4+–N concentrations. Net N mineralization rates did not change significantly in growing season or vegetation type, but to net nitrification rate. These results provide evidence on how reclamation may impact the grassland ecosystem in terms of N dynamics and N2O emissions.

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