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Chinese Journal of Applied Ecology ›› 2023, Vol. 34 ›› Issue (7): 1834-1844.doi: 10.13287/j.1001-9332.202307.016

• Original Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Short-term legacy effects of long-term nitrogen and water addition on soil chemical properties and micro-bial characteristics in a temperate grassland

DAI Zecheng1,2, LIU Yuexiu2,3, DANG Ning2, WANG Zhirui2, CAI Jiangping2, ZHANG Yuge3, SONG Yongbo1, LI Hui2*, JIANG Yong2   

  1. 1School of Life Sciences and Biopharmaceutical Sciences, Shenyang Pharmaceutical University, Shenyang 110016, China;
    2Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang 110016, China;
    3College of Environment, Shenyang University, Shenyang 110044, China
  • Received:2022-12-27 Accepted:2023-05-17 Online:2023-07-15 Published:2024-01-15

Abstract: Nitrogen deposition and summer precipitation in eastern Inner Mongolia are predicted to increase in recent decades. However, such increases in nitrogen inputs and precipitation may not be continuous under the future new patterns of global change, with the direction and magnitude of which may change or weaken. The legacy effects of nitrogen and water addition after cessation on ecosystems are still unclear. Based on a 13-year nitrogen and water addition experiment in temperate grassland of northern China, we examined the short-term (2 years) legacy effects of historical nitrogen and water addition on soil physicochemical properties and microbial properties after the cessation of nitrogen and water addition in the 14th year. The results showed that the positive effects of historical nitrogen addition on most of soil nutrient variables diminished after two years of cessation, including ammonium nitrogen, nitrate nitrogen, dissolved organic carbon and nitrogen, and Olsen-P concentrations. In contrast, there were legacy effects on soil microbial characteristics. For example, the historical nitrogen input of 15 g N·m-2·a-1 reduced microbial biomass carbon, respiration, and alkaline phosphomonoesterase activity by 73.3%, 81.9%, and 70.3% respectively. It implied that microbial parameters restored slowly in comparison with soil nutrients, showing a hysteresis effect. Results of Pearson’s correlation and redundancy analysis showed that the legacy effects of historical nitrogen addition on microbial parameters could be attributed to the negative effects of nitrogen addition on soil pH. Historical water addition showed significant legacy effects on soil pH, ammonium nitrogen, dissolved organic carbon and nitrogen, respiration, and soil enzyme activities, which significantly interacted with historical nitrogen addition. These results are of great significance to predict the changes in grassland ecosystem functions and services under the local environmental improvement conditions, and to reveal the restoration mechanism of degraded grassland.

Key words: nitrogen deposition, precipitation increment, legacy effect, soil enzyme activity, microbial biomass