CAN Canopy Addition of Nitrogen Better Illustrate the Effect of Atmospheric Nitrogen Deposition on Forest Ecosystem?
ABSTRACT: Increasing atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition could profoundly impact community structure and ecosystem functions in forests. However, conventional experiments with understory addition of N (UAN) largely neglect canopy-associated biota and processes and therefore may not realistically simulate atmospheric N deposition to generate reliable impacts on forest ecosystems. Here we, for the first time, designed a novel experiment with canopy addition of N (CAN) vs. UAN and reviewed the merits and pitfalls of the two approaches. The following hypotheses will be tested: i) UAN overestimates the N addition effects on understory and soil processes but underestimates those on canopy-associated biota and processes, ii) with low-level N addition, CAN favors canopy tree species and canopy-dwelling biota and promotes the detritus food web, and iii) with high-level N addition, CAN suppresses canopy tree species and other biota and favors rhizosphere food web. As a long-term comprehensive program, this experiment will provide opportunities for multidisciplinary collaborations, including biogeochemistry, microbiology, zoology, and plant science to examine forest ecosystem responses to atmospheric N deposition.
Project description:Increasing fire risk and atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition have the potential to alter plant community structure and composition, with consequent impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. This study was conducted to examine short-term responses of understory plant community to burning and N addition in a coniferous-broadleaved mixed forest of the subtropical-temperate transition zone in Central China. The experiment used a pair-nested design, with four treatments (control, burning, N addition, and burning plus N addition) and five replicates. Species richness, cover, and density of woody and herbaceous plants were monitored for 3 years after a low-severity fire in the spring of 2014. Burning, but not N addition, significantly stimulated the cover (+15.2%, absolute change) and density (+62.8%) of woody species as well as herb richness (+1.2 species/m2, absolute change), cover (+25.5%, absolute change), and density (+602.4%) across the seven sampling dates from June 2014 to October 2016. Light availability, soil temperature, and prefire community composition could be primarily responsible for the understory community recovery after the low-severity fire. The observations suggest that light availability and soil temperature are more important than nutrients in structuring understory plant community in the mixed forest of the subtropical-temperate transition zone in Central China. Legacy woody and herb species dominated the understory vegetation over the 3 years after fire, indicating strong resistance and resilience of forest understory plant community and biodiversity to abrupt environmental perturbation.
Project description:Nitrogen (N) deposition and precipitation could profoundly influence the structure and function of forest ecosystems. However, conventional studies with understory additions of nitrogen and water largely ignored canopy-associated ecological processes and may have not accurately reflected the natural situations. Additionally, most studies only made sampling at one time point, overlooked temporal dynamics of ecosystem response to environmental changes. Here we carried out a field trial in a mixed deciduous forest of China with canopy addition of N and water for 4 years to investigate the effects of increased N deposition and precipitation on the diversity and community composition of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi, the ubiquitous symbiotic fungi for the majority of terrestrial plants. We found that (1) in the 1st year, N addition, water addition and their interactions all exhibited significant influences on AM fungal community composition; (2) in the 2nd year, only water addition significantly reduced AM fungal alpha-diversity (richness and Shannon index); (3) in the next 2 years, both N addition and water addition showed no significant effect on AM fungal community composition or alpha-diversity, with an exception that water addition significantly changed AM fungal community composition in the 4th year; (4) the increment of N or water tended to decrease the abundance and richness of the dominant genus Glomus and favored other AM fungi. (5) soil pH was marginally positively related with AM fungal community composition dissimilarity, soil NH4 +-N and N/P showed significant/marginal positive correlation with AM fungal alpha-diversity. We concluded that the effect of increased N deposition and precipitation on AM fungal community composition was time-dependent, mediated by soil factors, and possibly related to the sensitivity and resilience of forest ecosystem to environmental changes.
Project description:Understory plant communities play critical ecological roles in forest ecosystems. Both above- and below-ground ecosystem properties and processes influence these communities but relatively little is known about such effects at fine (i.e., one to several meters within-stand) scales, particularly for forests in which the canopy is dominated by a single species. An improved understanding of these effects is critical for understanding how understory biodiversity is regulated in such forests and for anticipating impacts of changing disturbance regimes. Our primary objective was to examine the patterns of fine-scale variation in understory plant communities and their relationships to above- and below-ground resource and environmental heterogeneity within mature lodgepole pine forests. We assessed composition and diversity of understory vegetation in relation to heterogeneity of both the above-ground (canopy tree density, canopy and tall shrub basal area and cover, downed wood biomass, litter cover) and below-ground (soil nutrient availability, decomposition, forest floor thickness, pH, and phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs) and multiple carbon-source substrate-induced respiration (MSIR) of the forest floor microbial community) environment. There was notable variation in fine-scale plant community composition; cluster and indicator species analyses of the 24 most commonly occurring understory species distinguished four assemblages, one for which a pioneer forb species had the highest cover levels, and three others that were characterized by different bryophyte species having the highest cover. Constrained ordination (distance-based redundancy analysis) showed that two above-ground (mean tree diameter, litter cover) and eight below-ground (forest floor pH, plant available boron, microbial community composition and function as indicated by MSIR and PLFAs) properties were associated with variation in understory plant community composition. These results provide novel insights into the important ecological associations between understory plant community composition and heterogeneity in ecosystem properties and processes within forests dominated by a single canopy species.
Project description:Atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition affects the greenhouse gas (GHG) balance of ecosystems through the net atmospheric CO2 exchange and the emission of non-CO2 GHGs (CH4 and N2O). We quantified the effects of N deposition on biomass increment, soil organic carbon (SOC), and N2O and CH4 fluxes and, ultimately, the net GHG budget at ecosystem level of a Moso bamboo forest in China. Nitrogen addition significantly increased woody biomass increment and SOC decomposition, increased N2O emission, and reduced soil CH4 uptake. Despite higher N2O and CH4 fluxes, the ecosystem remained a net GHG sink of 26.8 to 29.4 megagrams of CO2 equivalent hectare-1 year-1 after 4 years of N addition against 22.7 hectare-1 year-1 without N addition. The total net carbon benefits induced by atmospheric N deposition at current rates of 30 kilograms of N hectare-1 year-1 over Moso bamboo forests across China were estimated to be of 23.8 teragrams of CO2 equivalent year-1.
Project description:Temperate forest (15) N isotope trace experiments find nitrogen (N) addition-driven carbon (C) uptake is modest as little additional N is acquired by trees; however, several correlations of ambient N deposition against forest productivity imply a greater effect of atmospheric nitrogen deposition than these studies. We asked whether N deposition experiments adequately represent all processes found in ambient conditions. In particular, experiments typically apply (15) N to directly to forest floors, assuming uptake of nitrogen intercepted by canopies (CNU) is minimal. Additionally, conventional (15) N additions typically trace mineral (15) N additions rather than litter N recycling and may increase total N inputs above ambient levels. To test the importance of CNU and recycled N to tree nutrition, we conducted a mesocosm experiment, applying 54 g N/(15) N ha(-1) yr(-1) to Sitka spruce saplings. We compared tree and soil (15) N recovery among treatments where enrichment was due to either (1) a (15) N-enriched litter layer, or mineral (15) N additions to (2) the soil or (3) the canopy. We found that 60% of (15) N applied to the canopy was recovered above ground (in needles, stem and branches) while only 21% of (15) N applied to the soil was found in these pools. (15) N recovery from litter was low and highly variable. (15) N partitioning among biomass pools and age classes also differed among treatments, with twice as much (15) N found in woody biomass when deposited on the canopy than soil. Stoichiometrically calculated N effect on C uptake from (15) N applied to the soil, scaled to real-world conditions, was 43 kg C kg N(-1) , similar to manipulation studies. The effect from the canopy treatment was 114 kg C kg N(-1) . Canopy treatments may be critical to accurately represent N deposition in the field and may address the discrepancy between manipulative and correlative studies.
Project description:Atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition greatly affects ecosystem processes and properties. However, few studies have simultaneously examined the responses of both the above- and belowground communities to N deposition. Here, we investigated the effects of 8 years of simulated N deposition on soil microbial communities and plant diversity in a subtropical forest. The quantities of experimental N added (g of N m(-2) year(-1)) and treatment codes were 0 (N0, control), 6 (N1), 12 (N2), and 24 (N3). Phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs) analysis was used to characterize the soil microbial community while plant diversity and coverage were determined in the permanent field plots. Microbial abundance was reduced by the N3 treatment, and plant species richness and coverage were reduced by both N2 and N3 treatments. Declines in plant species richness were associated with decreased abundance of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, increased bacterial stress index, and reduced soil pH. The plasticity of soil microbial community would be more related to the different responses among treatments when compared with plant community. These results indicate that long-term N deposition has greater effects on the understory plant community than on the soil microbial community and different conservation strategies should be considered.
Project description:Atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition is an important determinant of N availability for natural ecosystems worldwide. Increased anthropogenic N deposition shifts the stoichiometric equilibrium of ecosystems, with direct and indirect impacts on ecosystem functioning and biogeochemical cycles. Current simulation data suggest that remote tropical forests still receive low atmospheric N deposition due to a lack of proximate industry, low rates of fossil fuel combustion, and absence of intensive agriculture. We present field-based N deposition data for forests of the central Congo Basin, and use ultrahigh-resolution mass spectrometry to characterize the organic N fraction. Additionally, we use satellite data and modeling for atmospheric N source apportionment. Our results indicate that these forests receive 18.2 kg N hectare-1 years-1 as wet deposition, with dry deposition via canopy interception adding considerably to this flux. We also show that roughly half of the N deposition is organic, which is often ignored in N deposition measurements and simulations. The source of atmospheric N is predominantly derived from intensive seasonal burning of biomass on the continent. This high N deposition has important implications for the ecology of the Congo Basin and for global biogeochemical cycles more broadly.
Project description:Information on understory composition and its relationships with the overstory tree canopy, especially leaf area index (LAI), is crucially needed in, e.g., modeling land-atmosphere interactions and productivity of forests. There are also several global LAI products produced from satellite data which need to be validated with ground reference data. However, to date, only scarce field data on simultaneous structural properties of under- and overstory vegetation, and tree canopy LAI, have been available in boreal forests. This paper shows how understory composition and fractional cover of different species types varies in a boreal forest site, and how it is linked to structural properties of the tree layer. The study is based on 301 understory plots collected in an area of ?16?km2 around Hyytiälä forestry field station, Finland (61°50'N, 24°17'E) in a southern boreal forest site. Forest understory plot data was accompanied with measurements of both standard forest inventory variables and optically-based canopy light transmittance data. Clear differences in average species composition between different site fertility types were observed, but also large variation within each site fertility type was noted. Forest understory composition was better correlated with structural forest canopy measures (e.g., tree canopy LAI, canopy cover, canopy openness) than with traditional forest inventory variables such as tree height or diameter. Forest canopy LAI and the fractional cover of understory were strongly related, especially in more fertile sites. Our results highlight the role of tree canopy structural metrics as modifiers of the understory light climate and growing conditions, also, in boreal forests.
Project description:Forests are an important biome that covers about one third of the global land surface and provides important ecosystem services. Since atmospheric deposition of nitrogen (N) can have both beneficial and deleterious effects, it is important to quantify the amount of N deposition to forest ecosystems. Measurements of N deposition to the numerous forest biomes across the globe are scarce, so chemical transport models are often used to provide estimates of atmospheric N inputs to these ecosystems. We provide an overview of approaches used to calculate N deposition in commonly used chemical transport models. The Task Force on Hemispheric Transport of Air Pollution (HTAP2) study intercompared N deposition values from a number of global chemical transport models. Using a multi-model mean calculated from the HTAP2 deposition values, we map N deposition to global forests to examine spatial variations in total, dry and wet deposition. Highest total N deposition occurs in eastern and southern China, Japan, Eastern U.S. and Europe while the highest dry deposition occurs in tropical forests. The European Monitoring and Evaluation Program (EMEP) model predicts grid-average deposition, but also produces deposition by land use type allowing us to compare deposition specifically to forests with the grid-average value. We found that, for this study, differences between the grid-average and forest specific could be as much as a factor of two and up to more than a factor of five in extreme cases. This suggests that consideration should be given to using forest-specific deposition for input to ecosystem assessments such as critical loads determinations.
Project description:Gap formation favors the growth of understory plants and affects the decomposition process of plant debris inside and outside of gaps. Little information is available regarding how bioelement release from shrub litter is affected by gap formation during critical periods. The release of carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) in the foliar litter of Fargesia nitida and Salix paraplesia in response to gap locations was determined in an alpine forest of the eastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau via a 2-year litter decomposition experiment. The daily release rates of C, N, and P increased from the closed canopy to the gap centers during the two winters, the two later growing seasons and the entire 2 years, whereas this trend was reversed during the two early growing seasons. The pairwise ratios among C, N, and P converged as the litter decomposition proceeded. Compared with the closed canopy, the gap centers displayed higher C:P and N:P ratio but a lower C:N ratio as the decomposition proceeded. Alpine forest gaps accelerate the release of C, N, and P in decomposing shrub litter, implying that reduced snow cover resulting from vanishing gaps may inhibit the release of these elements in alpine forests.