Soil nitrogen mineralization (N min) is a very crucial component of N cycling. By far, studies have primarily shown the effect of seasons on N min. However, information on the effect of trees is primarily missing in the semi-arid forest of Delhi. We ascertained the effect of tree species and seasons on nitrogen mineralization, nitrification, and ammonification for 1 year (Dec. 2014 to Nov. 2015) by using an intact soil core (in-situ) incubation technique in 0–10 cm beneath the canopy of selected tree species. The study was carried out in a protected region in the South-Central ridge of Delhi. Our results demonstrate the effect of tree species on N-transformation rates. A noticeable seasonal variation was observed in all the processes, which were higher in monsoon and lower in winter. The rate of N min was highest under the canopy of Ficus religiosa (66.4 µg g−1 year−1) and lowest under Azadirachta indica (24.90 µg g−1 year−1). The rate of nitrification was highest under Ficus religiosa (39.90 µg g−1 year−1) and lowest under Cassia fistula (12.70 µg g−1 year−1). Similarly, the rate of ammonification was maximum under Ficus religiosa (26.6 µg g−1 year−1) and minimum under Azadirachta indica (10.7 µg g−1 year−1). Rates of N-transformation were positively correlated with soil moisture and temperature under few tree species indicating that soil properties control these processes. The higher rates of N-transformation under native tree species than the non-native ones suggest their effect on these vital ecosystem processes and regulating ecosystem function.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Allen SE, Grimshaw HM, Parkinson JA, Quarmby CL (1974) Chemical analysis of ecological materials. BlackwellScientific Publications, Hoboken
Austin AT, Yahdjian L, Stark JM, Belnap J, Porporato A, Norton U, Ravetta DA, Schaeffer SA (2004) Water pulses and biogeochemical cycles in arid and semi-arid ecosystems. Oecologia 141:221–235. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00442-004-1519-1
Bengtsson G, Bengtson P, Mansson KF (2003) Gross nitrogen mineralization, immobilization and nitrification rates as a function of soil C/N ratio and microbial activity. Soil Biol Biochem 35:143–154. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0038-0717(02)00248-1
Bernhard-Reversat F (1988) Soil nitrogen mineralization under a eucalyptus plantation and a natural Acacia forest in senegal. For Ecol Manag 23:233–244
Bernhard-Reversat F (1996) Nitrogen cycling in tree plantations grown on a poor sandy savanna soil in Congo. Appl Soil Ecol 4:161–172
Billings SA, Schaeffer SM, Evans RD (2002) Trace N gas losses and N mineralization in Mojave Desert soils exposed to elevated CO2. Soil Biol Biochem 34:1777–1784. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0038-0717(02)00166-9
Champion HG, Seth SK (1968) A revised survey of the forest types of India. Manager of Publications, Delhi
Dinakaran J, Vikram K, Hanief M, Bidalia A, Tambat S, Rao KS (2019) Changes in vegetation cover and soil intrinsic properties influence the soil bacterial community composition and diversity across different climatic regions of India. Vegetos 32:288–302. https://doi.org/10.1007/s42535-019-00027-2
Fu-sheng C, De-hui Z, Anand NS et al (2005) Effect of soil moisture and soil depth on nitrogen mineralization processes under Mongolian pine plantations in Zhanggutai sandy land, P.R. China. J for Res 16:101–104. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02857899
Gao W, Huang S, Huan Y, Yue X, Ye G (2019) Effect of tree species on soil carbon and nitrogen stocks in a coastal sand dune of southern subtropical China. Vegetos 32:142–150. https://doi.org/10.1007/s42535-019-00017-4
Grenon F, Bradley RL, Titus BD (2004) Temperature sensitivity of mineral N transformation rates, and heterotrophic nitrification: possible factors controlling the post-disturbance mineral N flush in forest floors. Soil Biol Biochem 36:1465–1474. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.soilbio.2004.04.021
Grundmann GL, Renault P, Rosso L, Bardin R (1995) Differential effects of soil water content and temperature on nitrification and aeration. Soil Sci Soc Am J 59:1342–1349
Koutika LS, Epron D, Bouillet JP, Mareschal L (2014) Changes in n and c concentrations, soil acidity and p availability in tropical mixed acacia and eucalypt plantations on a nutrient-poor sandy soil. Plant Soil 379:205–216. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11104-014-2047-3
Li Z, Peng S, Rae DJ, Zhou G (2001) Litter decomposition and nitrogen mineralization of soils in subtropical plantation forests of southern China, with special attention to comparisons between legumes and non-legumes. Plant Soil 229:105–116
Lovett GM, Weathers KC, Arthur MA, Schultz JC (2004) Nitrogen cycling in a northern hardwood forest: do species matter? Biogeochemistry 67:289–308
Ma F, Jia X, Zhou W, Zhou L, Yu D, Meng Y, Dai L (2017) Soil Nitrogen mineralization in a wind-distrubed area on Changbai Mountain after 30 years of vegetation restoration. Acta Ecol Sin 37:265–271. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chnaes.2017.02.011
Ma X, Zhao C, Tao H, Zhu J, Kundzewicz ZW (2018) Projections of actual evapotranspiration under the 1.5 °C and 2.0 °C global warming scenarios in sandy areas in northern China. Sci Total Environ 645:1496–1508. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.07.253
Maheshwari JK (1963) The flora of Delhi, 1st edn. Council of Scientific and Educational Research, New Delhi
Masunga RH, Uzokwe VN, Mlay PD, Odeh I, Singh A, Buchan D, De Neve S (2016) Nitrogen mineralization dynamics of different valuable organic amendments commonly used in agriculture. Appl Soil Ecol 101:185–193. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apsoil.2016.01.006
Raison RJ, Connell MJ, Khanna PK (1987) Methodology for studying fluxes of soil mineral-N in situ. Soil Biol Biochem 19:521–530
Rice SK, Westeran B, Fedrici R (2004) Impacts of the exotic, nitrogen-fixing black locust (Robinia psuedoacacia) on nitrogen-cycling in a pine-oak ecosystem. Plant Ecol 174:97–107. https://doi.org/10.1023/B:VEGE.0000046049.21900.5a
Schaeffer SM, Billings SA, Evans RD (2003) Responses of soil nitrogen dynamics in a Mojave Desert ecosystem to manipulations in soil carbon and nitrogen availability. Oecologia 134:547–553. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00442-002-1130-2
Singh RS, Raghubanshi AS, Singh JS (1991) Nitrogen mineralization in dry tropical Savanna: effects of burning and grazing. Soil Biol Biochem 23:269–273
Theodose TA, Martin J (2003) Microclimate and substrate quality controls on nitrogen mineralization in a New England high salt marsh. Plant Ecol 167:213–221. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1023974109113
Tian J, Wei K, Condron LM, Chen Z, Xu Z, Feng J, Chen L (2017) Effects of elevated nitrogen and precipitation on soil organic nitrogen fractions and nitrogen-mineralizing enzymes in semi-arid steppe and abandoned cropland. Plant Soil 417:217–229. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11104-017-3253-6
Vitousek PM, Howarth RW (1991) Nitrogen limitation on land and in the sea: how can it occur? Biogeochemistry 13:87–115
Wang C, Wang N, Zhu J, Liu Y, Xu X, Niu S, Yu G, Han X, He N (2017) Soil gross N ammonification and nitrification from tropical to temperate forests in eastern China. Funct Ecol 32:83–94. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2435.13024
Wang Q, Li F, Rong X, Fan Z (2018) Plant-Soil properties associated with nitrogen mineralization: effect of conversion of Natural Secondary Forests to Larch Plantations in a headwater catchment in Northeast China. Forests 9:386. https://doi.org/10.3390/f9070386
Yu ZY, Peng SL (1995) The artificial and natural restoration of tropical and subtropical forests. Acta Ecol Sin 15:1–17
Zhang X, Wang Q, Gilliam FS, Bai W, Han X, Li L (2012) Effect of nitrogen fertilization on net nitrogen mineralization in a grassland soil, northern China. Grass Forage Sci 67:219–230
We are grateful to the Head, Department of Botany, University of Delhi, for providing the necessary facilities to conduct this study. We are also grateful to Late Air-Vice Marshal Vinod Rawat for cooperating and allowing to work within the forest. The authors are thankful to the laboratory staff of the Department of Botany, University of Delhi, forest authority, and their team for immense help and support throughout this research. The first author is thankful to UGC for providing a NON-NET fellowship for the entire duration of the study. The corresponding author thanks the University of Delhi for providing Research and Development Grant during 2014–15 and 2015–16 and the Institution of Eminence (IoE) for Faculty Research Programme (FRP) grant 2020-21.
Financial support received from the Research and Development Grant and Institution of Eminence (IoE) of the University of Delhi is highly acknowledged.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Consent to participate
Consent for publication
The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author, RB, upon reasonable request.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Prasad, S., Baishya, R. Effect of tree species and seasons on soil nitrogen transformation rates in the semi-arid forest of Delhi, India. Vegetos (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42535-021-00291-1
- Soil nitrogen mineralization
- Semi-arid forest
- Tree species
- N- transformation rates
- Seasonal variation