Plant and Soil

, Volume 282, Issue 1–2, pp 135–151

Response of Litter Decomposition to Simulated N Deposition in Disturbed, Rehabilitated and Mature Forests in Subtropical China

  • Jiangming Mo
  • Sandra Brown
  • Jinghua Xue
  • Yunting Fang
  • Zhian Li
Article

Abstract

The response of decomposition of litter for the dominant tree species in disturbed (pine), rehabilitated (pine and broadleaf mixed) and mature (monsoon evergreen broadleaf) forests in subtropical China to simulated N deposition was studied to address the following hypothesis: (1) litter decomposition is faster in mature forest (high soil N availability) than in rehabilitated/disturbed forests (low soil N availability); (2) litter decomposition is stimulated by N addition in rehabilitated and disturbed forests due to their low soil N availability; (3) N addition has little effect on litter decomposition in mature forest due to its high soil N availability. The litterbag method (a total of 2880 litterbags) and N treatments: Control-no N addition, Low-N: −5 g N m−2 y−1, Medium-N: −10 g N m−2 y−1, and High-N: −15 g N m−2 y−1, were employed to evaluate decomposition. Results indicated that mature forest, which has likely been N saturated due to both long-term high N deposition in the region and the age of the ecosystem, had the highest litter decomposition rate, and exhibited no significant positive and even some negative response to nitrogen additions. However, both disturbed and rehabilitated forests, which are still N limited due to previous land use history, exhibited slower litter decomposition rates with significant positive effects from nitrogen additions. These results suggest that litter decomposition and its responses to N addition in subtropical forests of China vary depending on the nitrogen status of the ecosystem.

Keywords

China disturbance forest succession nitrogen deposition litter decomposition response subtropics 

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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jiangming Mo
    • 1
  • Sandra Brown
    • 2
  • Jinghua Xue
    • 1
  • Yunting Fang
    • 1
  • Zhian Li
    • 1
  1. 1.South China Botanical Gardenthe Chinese Academy of SciencesDinghu, ZhaoqingChina
  2. 2.Winrock InternationalArlingtonUSA

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