Plant and Soil

, Volume 359, Issue 1–2, pp 387–395 | Cite as

Atmospheric inorganic nitrogen in wet deposition to a red soil farmland in Southeast China, 2005–2009

  • Jian Cui
  • Jing ZhouEmail author
  • Ying Peng
  • Yuan Qiu He
  • Andrew Chan
Regular Article



Biological processes in agro-ecosystems have been affected by atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition, but there is uncertain of the N deposition fluxes and associated variations. This study aimed to characterize the atmospheric inorganic N (AIN) in wet deposition to a typical red soil farmland at the Red Soil Ecological Experiment Station, Chinese Academy of Sciences in Southeast China.


We collected rain samples using an ASP-2 sampler at a 4-week interval, recorded rainfall and rain frequency by an auto-meteorological experiment sub-station and determined NO 3 - and NH 4 + -N levels in precipitation with an AutoAnalyzer 3 for five continuous years (2005–2009).


Precipitation-weighted concentrations of NO 3 - and NH 4 + -N ranged from 0.02 to 0.17 mg L−1 month−1 N and 0.05 to 0.42 mg L−1 month−1 N, respectively. Wet AIN deposition fluxes substantially varied with season. The highest AIN level was found in spring (March to May) with the average of 11.3 kg ha−1 season−1 N, which was significantly higher than that in autumn and winter (p < 0.01). Annual AIN fluxes ranged from 26.4 to 39.0 kg ha−1 a−1 N, which approached to the critical loads. The NH 4 + -N deposition fluxes varied from 17.4 to 27.0 kg ha−1 a−1 N, accounting for 65.8–71.5% of annual AIN deposition fluxes, whereas the AIN fluxes in the rainy season (April to June) ranged from 5.0 to 20.2 kg ha−1 a−1 N, accounting for 17.6–51.9% of annual AIN deposition fluxes.


Wet inorganic N deposition has intensively been influenced by human activities, particularly agricultural activities, and would increase potential ecological risk in the red soil agricultural ecosystem. Our results suggest that wet N deposition to red soil farmlands, particularly in the rainy season should not be neglected.


Nitrate Ammonium Wet inorganic N deposition Rainy season Red soil farmland Southeast China 



Atmospheric inorganic nitrogen


Analysis of variance


Chinese academy of sciences




Red soil ecological experiment station


Standard error


1012 g



Special thanks are given to the staff at Red Soil Ecological Experiment Station, Chinese Academy of Sciences for help with this research, especially Benhua Chen for his help with hourly precipitation data supply. This work was supported by the National Key Technology Research and Development Program of China (2011BAD41B01, 2009BADA6B04 and 2009BADC4B02) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences Innovation Program (ISSASIP0730).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jian Cui
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jing Zhou
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Ying Peng
    • 2
  • Yuan Qiu He
    • 1
    • 2
  • Andrew Chan
    • 4
  1. 1.Red Soil Ecological Experiment stationChinese Academy of Sciences, Liujiazhan plantationYingtanPeoples Republic of China
  2. 2.Institute of Soil ScienceChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingPeoples Republic of China
  3. 3.National Engineering and Technology Research Center for Red Soil ImprovementNanchangPeoples Republic of China
  4. 4.Division of EnvironmentUniversity of Nottingham Malaysia CampusSemenyihMalaysia

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