Articles | Volume 13, issue 11
Biogeosciences, 13, 3503–3517, 2016
Biogeosciences, 13, 3503–3517, 2016

Research article 16 Jun 2016

Research article | 16 Jun 2016

Effects of nitrogen and phosphorus additions on nitrous oxide emission in a nitrogen-rich and two nitrogen-limited tropical forests

Mianhai Zheng1,5,*, Tao Zhang2,*, Lei Liu3, Weixing Zhu4, Wei Zhang1, and Jiangming Mo1 Mianhai Zheng et al.
  • 1Key Laboratory of Vegetation Restoration and Management of Degraded Ecosystems, South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 510650 Guangzhou, China
  • 2School of Life Science and Technology, Lingnan Normal University, 524048 Zhanjiang, China
  • 3State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 100085 Beijing, China
  • 4Department of Biological Science, State University of New York, Binghamton, Binghamton, NY 13902, USA
  • 5University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, 100039 Beijing, China
  • *These authors contributed equally to this work.

Abstract. Nitrogen (N) deposition is generally considered to increase soil nitrous oxide (N2O) emission in N-rich forests. In many tropical forests, however, elevated N deposition has caused soil N enrichment and further phosphorus (P) deficiency, and the interaction of N and P to control soil N2O emission remains poorly understood, particularly in forests with different soil N status. In this study, we examined the effects of N and P additions on soil N2O emission in an N-rich old-growth forest and two N-limited younger forests (a mixed and a pine forest) in southern China to test the following hypotheses: (1) soil N2O emission is the highest in old-growth forest due to the N-rich soil; (2) N addition increases N2O emission more in the old-growth forest than in the two younger forests; (3) P addition decreases N2O emission more in the old-growth forest than in the two younger forests; and (4) P addition alleviates the stimulation of N2O emission by N addition. The following four treatments were established in each forest: Control, N addition (150 kg N ha−1 yr−1), P addition (150 kg P ha−1 yr−1), and NP addition (150 kg N ha−1 yr−1 plus 150 kg P ha−1 yr−1). From February 2007 to October 2009, monthly quantification of soil N2O emission was performed using static chamber and gas chromatography techniques. Mean N2O emission was shown to be significantly higher in the old-growth forest (13.9 ± 0.7 µg N2O-N m−2 h−1) than in the mixed (9.9 ± 0.4 µg N2O-N m−2 h−1) or pine (10.8 ± 0.5 µg N2O-N m−2 h−1) forests, with no significant difference between the latter two. N addition significantly increased N2O emission in the old-growth forest but not in the two younger forests. However, both P and NP addition had no significant effect on N2O emission in all three forests, suggesting that P addition alleviated the stimulation of N2O emission by N addition in the old-growth forest. Although P fertilization may alleviate the stimulated effects of atmospheric N deposition on N2O emission in N-rich forests, this effect may only occur under high N deposition and/or long-term P addition, and we suggest future investigations to definitively assess this management strategy and the importance of P in regulating N cycles from regional to global scales.

Final-revised paper