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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2016-211
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2016-211
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 16 Jun 2016

Submitted as: research article | 16 Jun 2016

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG). The revised manuscript was not accepted.

Agricultural uses reshape soil C, N, and P stoichiometry in subtropical ecosystems

H. Y. Liu1,*, J. G. Zhou1,*, J. Shen1, Y. Y. Li1, Y. Li1, T. D. Ge1, G. Guggenberger1,2, and J. Wu1 H. Y. Liu et al.
  • 1Key Laboratory of Agro-ecological Processes in Subtropical Region, Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hunan, 410125, China
  • 2Institute of Soil Science, Leibniz Universität Hannover, 30419, Hannover, Germany
  • *These two authors contributed equally to this work.

Abstract. Changes in elemental stoichiometry, in most cases, attributed to land use alterations may cause vital impacts on the nutrient status and environmental quality of ecosystems. Here, we studied the stoichiometry and spatial distribution patterns of soil organic carbon (SOC), total soil nitrogen (TN), and total soil phosphorus (TP) in topsoil (0–20 cm; 1207 samples) ecosystems in a representative catchment of subtropical hilly region of China. Its main land uses are woodland, paddy fields, and tea farmlands. Data obtained show that the medians of SOC, TN, and TP were 16.97, 1.83, and 0.52 g kg−1, and medians of C : N, C : P, and N : P molar ratios were 10.0, 78.6 and 7.9, respectively. The best-fitting model were exponential models for SOC, TN, TP, C : N, and N : P, while for C : P was Gaussian model. The nugget values for SOC, TN, TP, C : N, C : P, and N : P were 1.0, 0.06, 0.01, 6.0, 56.0, and 1.0, respectively. And their ranges were 750, 1290, 570, 2970, 810, and 720, respectively. The nugget-to-sill ratio (NSR) for SOC, TN, TP, C : P, and N : P were 2.7 %, 14.3 %, 20.0 %, 4.0 %, and 10.0 %, respectively, and showed strong spatial autocorrelation. While C:N molar ratios had a moderate spatial correlation, with NSR of 49.95 %. Spatial analyses showed that agriculture derived land use changes alter largely the spatial distribution and stoichiometry of C, N, and P elements in individual landscapes and entire catchment. For woodland ecosystems, topography factors (elevation and slope) determined the elemental spatial distributions and stoichiometry (C : N, C : P, and N : P molar ratios). However, this status had been merged in agricultural ecosystems, due to the relative similarity in cropping and managing (N and P inputs through fertilization). Agriculture significantly increases N, and P contents but narrows C : N, C : P, and N : P molar ratios. Thus, our findings demonstrate that agricultural activities can affect carbon and nutrient stoichiometry at the catchment scale.

H. Y. Liu et al.
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H. Y. Liu et al.
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Short summary
We studied the spatial distribution of soil C, N, and P (carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus) stoichiometry of the ecosystems in a subtropical catchment, and found that the stoichiometry was shaped in relatively narrow ranges in agricultural uses, and its spatial variations with topography were remarkably reduced. Thus, our findings demonstrate that intensive agriculture can change the spatial distributions of soil C, N, and P and the associated stoichiometry in a hilly subtropical catchment.
We studied the spatial distribution of soil C, N, and P (carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus)...
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