Skip to main content

Promoting microbial immobilization of soil nitrogen during restoration of abandoned agricultural fields by organic additions

Abstract

Application of organic materials to soils to enhance N immobilization into microbial biomass, thereby reducing inorganic N concentrations, was studied as a management option to accelerate the reestablishment of the native vegetation on abandoned arable fields on sandy soils the Kiskunság National Park, Hungary. Sucrose and sawdust were used at three different topographic sites over 4 years. N availability and extractable inorganic N concentrations were significantly reduced in all sites. Soil microbial biomass C and microbial biomass N increased significantly following C additions, but the microbial C to microbial N ratio remained unaffected. It is concluded that the combined application of the rapidly utilized C source (sucrose) promoted N immobilization, whereas the addition of the slowly utilized C source (sawdust) maintained the elevated microbial biomass C and microbial biomass N in the field.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

References

  • Andren O, Rajkai K, Katterer T (1993) Water and temperature dynamics in a clay soil under winter-wheat—influence on straw decomposition and N-immobilization. Biol Fertil Soils 15:1–8

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Baer SG, Blair JM, Collins SL, Knapp AK (2003) Soil resources regulate productivity and diversity in newly established tallgrass prairie. Ecology 84:724–735

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bardgett RD, Leemans DK, Cook R, Hobbs PJ (1997) Seasonality of the soil biota of grazed and ungrazed hill grasslands. Soil Biol Biochem 29:1285–1294

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Binkley D, Matson P (1983) Ion exchange resin bag method for assessing forest soil nitrogen availability. Soil Sci Soc Am J 47:1050–1052

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Binkley D, Aber J, Pastor J, Nadelhoffer K (1986) Nitrogen availability in some Wisconsin forests: comparisons of resin bags and on-site incubations. Biol Fertil Soils 2:77–82

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Blumenthal DM, Jordan NR, Russelle MP (2003) Soil carbon addition controls weeds and facilitates prairie restoration. Ecol Appl 13:605–615

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bremer E, van Kessel C (1992) Seasonal microbial biomass dynamics after addition of lentil and wheat residues. Soil Sci Soc Am J 56:1141–1146

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Brookes PC, Landman A, Pruden G, Jenkinson DS (1985) Chloroform fumigation and the release of soil nitrogen: a rapid direct extraction method for measuring microbial biomass nitrogen in soil. Soil Biol Biochem 17:837–842

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Carson WP, Barrett GW (1988) Succession in old-field plant communities: effects of contrasting types of nutrient enrichment. Ecology 69:984–994

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cione NK, Padgett PE, Allen EB (2002) Restoration of a native shrubland impacted by exotic grasses, frequent fire, and nitrogen deposition in southern California. Restor Ecol 10:376–384

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Corbin JD, D’Antonio CM (2004) Can carbon addition increase competitiveness of native grasses? A case study from California. Restor Ecol 12:36–43

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Elhottová D, Szili-Kovács T, Tříska J (2002) Soil microbial community of abandoned sand fields. Folia Microbiol 47:435–440

    Google Scholar 

  • Fog K (1988) The effect of added nitrogen on the rate of decomposition of organic matter. Biol Rev Camb Philos Soc 63:433–462

    Google Scholar 

  • Granatstein DM, Bezdicek DF, Cochran VL, Elliott LF, Hammel J (1987) Long-term tillage and rotation effects on soil microbial biomass, carbon and nitrogen. Biol Fertil Soils 5:265–270

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Grime JP (1973) Competitive exclusion in herbaceous vegetation. Nature 242:344–347

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Harmsen GW, van Schreven DA (1955) Mineralization of organic nitrogen in soil. Adv Agron 7:299–398

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hoffman G (1961) Die Stickstoffbindung der Robinie (Robinia pseudoacacia L.). Arch Forstwes 10:627–631

    Google Scholar 

  • Jensen ES (1997) Nitrogen immobilization and mineralization during initial decomposition of 15N-labelled pea and barley residues. Biol Fertil Soils 24:39–44

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Johnson NC, Zak DR, Tilman D, Pfleger FL (1991) Dynamics of vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizae during old field succession. Oecologia 86:349–358

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jonasson S, Michelsen A, Schmidt IK, Nielsen EV, Callaghan TV (1996) Microbial biomass C, N and P in two arctic soils and responses to addition of NPK fertilizer and sugar: implications for plant nutrient uptake. Oecologia 106:507–515

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Klein DA, McLendon T, Paschke MW, Redente EF (1995) Saprophytic fungal-bacterial biomass variations in successional communities of a semi-arid steppe ecosystem. Biol Fertil Soils 19:253–256

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kovács-Láng E, Fekete G, Molnár Zs (1998) Pattern, process and scale: long-term ecological research in the Kiskunság. In: Fekete G (ed) Advances in community ecology (in Hungarian). Scientia, Budapest, pp 209–224

    Google Scholar 

  • McLendon T, Redente EF (1992) Effects of nitrogen limitation on species replacement dynamics during early secondary succession on a semiarid sagebrush site. Oecologia 91:312–317

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ocio JA, Brookes PC, Jenkinson DS (1991) Field incorporation of straw and its effects on soil microbial biomass and soil inorganic N. Soil Biol Biochem 23:171–176

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Paschke MW, McLendon T, Redente EF (2000) Nitrogen availability and old-field succession in a shortgrass steppe. Ecosystems 3:144–158

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Prober SM, Thiele KR, Lunt ID, Koen TB (2005) Restoring ecological function in temperate grassy woodlands: manipulating soil nutrients, exotic annuals and native perennial grasses through carbon supplements and spring burns. J Appl Ecol 42:1073–1085

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Reever Morghan KJ, Seastedt TR (1999) Effects of soil nitrogen reduction on nonnative plants in restored grasslands. Restor Ecol 7:51–55

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ritz K, Griffiths BS, Wheatley RE (1992) Soil microbial biomass and activity under a potato crop fertilized with N with and without C. Biol Fertil Soils 12:265–271

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Smith JL, Paul EA (1990) The significance of soil microbial biomass estimation. In: Bollag JM, Stotzky G (eds) Soil biochemistry, vol 6. Marcel Dekker, New York, pp 357–396

    Google Scholar 

  • Tilman D (1986) Nitrogen-limited growth in plants from different successional stages. Ecology 67:555–563

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Török K, Lohász C (2004) The effect of climate on the restoration success of sandy grassland in Hungary. In: Proc 16th annual conference of the society for ecological restoration. 24–26 August, 2004, Victoria, Canada, CD-Rom, pp 1–8

  • Török K, Szili-Kovács T, Halassy M, Tóth T, Hayek Zs, Paschke MW, Wardell LJ (2000) Immobilization of soil nitrogen as a possible method for the restoration of sandy grassland. Appl Veg Sci 3:7–14

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Van der Putten WH, van Dijk C, Peters BAM (1993) Plant-specific soil-borne diseases contribute to succession in foredune vegetation. Nature 362:53–56

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Vance ED, Brookes PC, Jenkinson DS (1987) An extraction method for measuring soil microbial biomass-C. Soil Biol Biochem 19:703–707

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Vitousek PM, Aber JD, Howarth RW, Likens GE, Matson PA, Schindler DW, Schlesinger WH, Tilman DG (1997) Human alterations of the global nitrogen cycle: sources and consequences. Ecol Appl 7:737–750

    Google Scholar 

  • Zink TA, Allen MF (1998) The effects of organic amendments on the restoration of a disturbed coastal sage scrub habitat. Restor Ecol 6:52–58

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

This work was supported by the Hungarian National Research Fund (OTKA T42930), the National Research and Development Programme (NKFP 3B/0008/2002), the TÉT Foundation (UK-HU), and the British Council (Hungary).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Tibor Szili-Kovács.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Szili-Kovács, T., Török, K., Tilston, E.L. et al. Promoting microbial immobilization of soil nitrogen during restoration of abandoned agricultural fields by organic additions. Biol Fertil Soils 43, 823–828 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00374-007-0182-1

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00374-007-0182-1

Keywords

  • Immobilization
  • Soil microbial biomass
  • Sucrose
  • Sawdust
  • Restoration