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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-2018-526
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2018-526
© 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. A revision of this manuscript was accepted for the journal Biogeosciences (BG) and is expected to appear here in due course.

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.
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Interactive discussion
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Tianpeng Li et al.
Tianpeng Li et al.
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