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Title: Long-Term Simulated Atmospheric Nitrogen Deposition Alters Leaf and Fine Root Decomposition

Abstract

Atmospheric nitrogen deposition increases forest carbon sequestration across broad parts of the Northern Hemisphere. Slower organic matter decomposition and greater soil carbon accumulation could contribute to this increase in carbon sequestration. We investigated the effects of chronic simulated nitrogen deposition on leaf litter and fine root decomposition at four sugar maple (Acer saccharum)-dominated northern hardwood forests. At these sites, we previously observed that nitrogen additions increased soil organic carbon and altered litter chemistry. We conducted a 3-year decomposition study with litter bags. Litter production of leaves and fine roots were combined with decomposition dynamics to estimate how fine roots and leaf litter contribute to soil organic carbon. We found that nitrogen additions marginally stimulated early-stage decomposition of leaf litter, an effect associated with previously documented changes in litter chemistry. In contrast, nitrogen additions inhibited the later stages of fine root decomposition, which is consistent with observed decreases in lignin-degrading enzyme activities with nitrogen additions at these sites. At the ecosystem scale, slower fine root decomposition led to additional root mass retention (g m-2), and this greater retention of root residues was estimated to explain 5–51% of previously documented carbon accumulation in the surface soil due to nitrogen additions. Our resultsmore » demonstrated that simulated nitrogen deposition created contrasting effects on the decomposition of leaf litter and fine roots. Although previous nitrogen deposition studies have focused on leaf litter, this work suggests that slower fine root decomposition is a major driver of soil organic carbon accumulation under elevated nitrogen deposition.« less

Authors:
; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge Inst. for Science and Education (ORISE), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
OSTI Identifier:
1350777
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1580739
Grant/Contract Number:  
MCINTIRE-STENNIS-1004624
Resource Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Ecosystems
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Ecosystems Journal Volume: 21 Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 1432-9840
Publisher:
Springer
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; fine roots; initial litter chemistry; litter decomposition; leaf litter; Michigan Gradient Study; nitrogen deposition; soil organic carbon; sugar maple

Citation Formats

Xia, Mengxue, Talhelm, Alan F., and Pregitzer, Kurt S. Long-Term Simulated Atmospheric Nitrogen Deposition Alters Leaf and Fine Root Decomposition. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1007/s10021-017-0130-3.
Xia, Mengxue, Talhelm, Alan F., & Pregitzer, Kurt S. Long-Term Simulated Atmospheric Nitrogen Deposition Alters Leaf and Fine Root Decomposition. United States. doi:10.1007/s10021-017-0130-3.
Xia, Mengxue, Talhelm, Alan F., and Pregitzer, Kurt S. Mon . "Long-Term Simulated Atmospheric Nitrogen Deposition Alters Leaf and Fine Root Decomposition". United States. doi:10.1007/s10021-017-0130-3.
@article{osti_1350777,
title = {Long-Term Simulated Atmospheric Nitrogen Deposition Alters Leaf and Fine Root Decomposition},
author = {Xia, Mengxue and Talhelm, Alan F. and Pregitzer, Kurt S.},
abstractNote = {Atmospheric nitrogen deposition increases forest carbon sequestration across broad parts of the Northern Hemisphere. Slower organic matter decomposition and greater soil carbon accumulation could contribute to this increase in carbon sequestration. We investigated the effects of chronic simulated nitrogen deposition on leaf litter and fine root decomposition at four sugar maple (Acer saccharum)-dominated northern hardwood forests. At these sites, we previously observed that nitrogen additions increased soil organic carbon and altered litter chemistry. We conducted a 3-year decomposition study with litter bags. Litter production of leaves and fine roots were combined with decomposition dynamics to estimate how fine roots and leaf litter contribute to soil organic carbon. We found that nitrogen additions marginally stimulated early-stage decomposition of leaf litter, an effect associated with previously documented changes in litter chemistry. In contrast, nitrogen additions inhibited the later stages of fine root decomposition, which is consistent with observed decreases in lignin-degrading enzyme activities with nitrogen additions at these sites. At the ecosystem scale, slower fine root decomposition led to additional root mass retention (g m-2), and this greater retention of root residues was estimated to explain 5–51% of previously documented carbon accumulation in the surface soil due to nitrogen additions. Our results demonstrated that simulated nitrogen deposition created contrasting effects on the decomposition of leaf litter and fine roots. Although previous nitrogen deposition studies have focused on leaf litter, this work suggests that slower fine root decomposition is a major driver of soil organic carbon accumulation under elevated nitrogen deposition.},
doi = {10.1007/s10021-017-0130-3},
journal = {Ecosystems},
number = 1,
volume = 21,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {4}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record
DOI: 10.1007/s10021-017-0130-3

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Cited by: 8 works
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