Articles | Volume 11, issue 18
Research article
16 Sep 2014
Research article |  | 16 Sep 2014

Responses of nitrous oxide emissions to nitrogen and phosphorus additions in two tropical plantations with N-fixing vs. non-N-fixing tree species

W. Zhang, X. Zhu, Y. Luo, R. Rafique, H. Chen, J. Huang, and J. Mo

Abstract. Leguminous tree plantations at phosphorus (P) limited sites may result in excess nitrogen (N) and higher rates of nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions. However, the effects of N and P applications on soil N2O emissions from plantations with N-fixing vs. non-N-fixing tree species have rarely been studied in the field. We conducted an experimental manipulation of N and/or P additions in two plantations with Acacia auriculiformis (AA, N-fixing) and Eucalyptus urophylla (EU, non-N-fixing) in South China. The objective was to determine the effects of N or P addition alone, as well as NP application together on soil N2O emissions from these tropical plantations. We found that the average N2O emission from control was greater in the AA (2.3 ± 0.1 kg N2O–N ha−1 yr−1) than in EU plantation (1.9 ± 0.1 kg N2O–N ha−1 yr−1). For the AA plantation, N addition stimulated N2O emission from the soil while P addition did not. Applications of N with P together significantly decreased N2O emission compared to N addition alone, especially in the high-level treatments (decreased by 18%). In the EU plantation, N2O emissions significantly decreased in P-addition plots compared with the controls; however, N and NP additions did not. The different response of N2O emission to N or P addition was attributed to the higher initial soil N status in the AA than that of EU plantation, due to symbiotic N fixation in the former. Our result suggests that atmospheric N deposition potentially stimulates N2O emissions from leguminous tree plantations in the tropics, whereas P fertilization has the potential to mitigate N-deposition-induced N2O emissions from such plantations.

Final-revised paper