Enhancement of Carbon Sequestration in Soil in the Temperature Grasslands of Northern China by Addition of Nitrogen and Phosphorus

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Abstract

Increased nitrogen (N) deposition is common worldwide. Questions of where, how, and if reactive N-input influences soil carbon (C) sequestration in terrestrial ecosystems are of great concern. To explore the potential for soil C sequestration in steppe region under N and phosphorus (P) addition, we conducted a field experiment between 2006 and 2012 in the temperate grasslands of northern China. The experiment examined 6 levels of N (0-56 g N m-2 yr-1), 6 levels of P (0-12.4 g P m-2 yr-1), and a control scenario. Our results showed that addition of both N and P enhanced soil total C storage in grasslands due to significant increases of C input from litter and roots. Compared with control plots, soil organic carbon (SOC) in the 0-100 cm soil layer varied quadratically, from 156.8 to 1352.9 g C m-2 with N addition gradient (R2 = 0.99, P < 0.001); and logarithmically, from 293.6 to 788.6 g C m-2 with P addition gradient (R2 = 0.56, P = 0.087). Soil inorganic carbon (SIC) decreased quadratically with N addition. The net C sequestration on grassland (including plant, roots, SIC, and SOC) increased linearly from -128.6 to 729.0 g C m-2 under N addition (R2 = 0.72, P = 0.023); and increased logarithmically, from 248.5 to 698 g C m-2under P addition (R2 = 0.82, P = 0.014). Our study implies that N addition has complex effects on soil carbon dynamics, and future studies of soil C sequestration on grasslands should include evaluations of both SOC and SIC under various scenarios. © 2013 He et al.

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He, N., Yu, Q., Wang, R., Zhang, Y., Gao, Y., & Yu, G. (2013). Enhancement of Carbon Sequestration in Soil in the Temperature Grasslands of Northern China by Addition of Nitrogen and Phosphorus. PLoS ONE, 8(10). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0077241

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