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Soil Biology and Biochemistry
62, 2013; Pages: 68 - 75

Soil microbial biomass, community composition and soil nitrogen cycling in relation to tree species in subtropical China

Zhiqun Huang, Xiaohua Wan, Zongming He, Zaipeng Yu, Minghuang Wang, Zhenhong Hu,Yusheng Yang

College of Geographical Science, Fujian Normal University, Fuzhou 350007, China.


We investigated microbial biomass and composition (lipid profile), mineral N pools and soil physicochemical parameters in the top 5-cm soils 19 years after reforestation of Chinese fir (Cunninghamia lanceolata (Lamb.) Hook) woodland with itself or a native broadleaf species, Mytilaria laosensis. The results suggested that tree species transition had a large impact on microbial biomass and a small impact on the composition of the microbial community as indicated by the relative abundance of individual lipid biomarkers. Between November 2011 and October 2012, there was on average 50% greater microbial biomass carbon (C)measured by the fumigation extraction procedure under M. laosensis than under C. lanceolata. A one-time measurement of phospholipid fatty acids in soil samples collected in May 2012 suggested M. laosensis plots had greater content of individual lipid biomarkers than C. lanceolata plots. Using a litter manipulation experiment, we found that the increases in content of lipid biomarkers under M. laosensis can be attributed to changed litter chemistry. Analysis of soil mineral N pools indicated that there were significantly lower +4NH and3NO pools as well as potential net N mineralization rates in M. laosensis soil than in C. lanceolata soil. The relationships among N dynamics, soil chemistry and microbial properties were analysed. The results suggested tree species induced differences in soil N mineralization rates and mineral N pools were related to labile C availability, soil C:N ratio and the composition of the microbial community. Our data of mineral N pools and soil δ15N implied that the transition of land use from C. lanceolata to M. laosensis leads to an enhanced N retention in the plantation.

Keywords: Chinese fir; Litter quality; Nitrogen cycling; PLFA; Soil microbial community



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