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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 01 Feb 2019

Research article | 01 Feb 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG).

Frequency and intensity of nitrogen addition alter soil inorganic sulfur fractions but the effects vary with mowing management in a temperate steppe

Tianpeng Li1,*, Heyong Liu2,*, Ruzhen Wang1, Xiao-Tao Lü1, Junjie Yang3, Yunhai Zhang3, Peng He1, Zhirui Wang1, Xingguo Han3, and Yong Jiang1 Tianpeng Li et al.
  • 1Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang 110016, China
  • 2College of Land and Environment, Shenyang Agricultural University, Shenyang 110866, China
  • 3State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
  • *These authors contribute equally to this work.

Abstract. Sulfur (S) availability plays a vital role in driving functions of terrestrial ecosystems, which can be largely affected by soil inorganic S fractions and pool size. Enhanced ecosystem nitrogen (N) input can significantly affect soil S availability, but it still remains largely unknown if the N effect varies with frequency of N addition and mowing management in grasslands. To investigate changes in soil S pool and inorganic S fractions (water-soluble S, adsorbed S, available S, and insoluble S), we conducted a field experiment with different frequencies (twice vs. monthly additions per year) and intensities (i.e. 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 15, 20, and 50 g N m−2 year−1) of NH4NO3 addition and mowing (unmowing vs. mowing) over six years in a temperate grassland of northern China. Soil water-soluble and adsorbed S concentrations significantly increased, while insoluble S decreased with increasing intensity of N input. Such changes were correlated with soil pH and total inorganic nitrogen (TIN) concentration. High frequency of N addition increased the concentrations of water-soluble S, adsorbed S and available S as compared to low frequency of N addition in mown plots. Mowing significantly decreased all soil inorganic S fractions by reducing S replenishment via plant residue return. Mowing significantly interacted with both N addition intensity and frequency to affect inorganic S fractions, in that adsorbed S and available S showed no response to N addition intensity in unmown plots but significantly increased in mown plots under high N frequency. Mowing interacted with N addition intensity to decrease soil S pool size, suggesting that biomass removal under N input would cause soil S depletion in this temperate grassland. Nitrogen addition could replenish soil available S by promoting dissolution of soil insoluble S with decreasing soil pH and mineralization of organic S due to increasing plant S uptake. Our results further indicated that using large and infrequent N addition to simulate N deposition can overestimate the main effects of N deposition and mowing on soil S availability in semi-arid grasslands.

Tianpeng Li et al.
Interactive discussion
Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Tianpeng Li et al.
Tianpeng Li et al.
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