Volume 31, Issue 5 p. 683-693
Original Article

Impacts of nitrogen-fixing and non-nitrogen-fixing tree species on soil respiration and microbial community composition during forest management in subtropical China

Da Luo

Da Luo

Key Laboratory on Forest Ecology and Environmental Sciences of State Forestry Administration, Institute of Forest Ecology, Environment and Protection, Chinese Academy of Forestry, NO.1 Dongxiaofu, Xiangshan Road, Haidian District, Beijing, 100091 China

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Ruimei Cheng

Ruimei Cheng

Key Laboratory on Forest Ecology and Environmental Sciences of State Forestry Administration, Institute of Forest Ecology, Environment and Protection, Chinese Academy of Forestry, NO.1 Dongxiaofu, Xiangshan Road, Haidian District, Beijing, 100091 China

Co-Innovation Center for Sustainable Forestry in Southern China, Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing, 210037 China

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Zuomin Shi

Corresponding Author

Zuomin Shi

Key Laboratory on Forest Ecology and Environmental Sciences of State Forestry Administration, Institute of Forest Ecology, Environment and Protection, Chinese Academy of Forestry, NO.1 Dongxiaofu, Xiangshan Road, Haidian District, Beijing, 100091 China

Co-Innovation Center for Sustainable Forestry in Southern China, Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing, 210037 China

Tel.: +86-10-62888308, [email protected]Search for more papers by this author
Weixia Wang

Weixia Wang

College of Forestry and Horticulture, Xinjiang Agricultural University, Urumqi, 830052 China

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Gexi Xu

Gexi Xu

Key Laboratory on Forest Ecology and Environmental Sciences of State Forestry Administration, Institute of Forest Ecology, Environment and Protection, Chinese Academy of Forestry, NO.1 Dongxiaofu, Xiangshan Road, Haidian District, Beijing, 100091 China

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Shirong Liu

Shirong Liu

Key Laboratory on Forest Ecology and Environmental Sciences of State Forestry Administration, Institute of Forest Ecology, Environment and Protection, Chinese Academy of Forestry, NO.1 Dongxiaofu, Xiangshan Road, Haidian District, Beijing, 100091 China

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First published: 18 July 2016
Citations: 11

Abstract

Forest management with N-fixing trees can improve soil fertility and tree productivity, but have little information regarding belowground carbon processes and microbial properties. We aimed to evaluate the effects of three forest management regimes, which were Erythrophleum fordii (N-fixing tree), Pinus massoniana (non-N-fixing tree), and their mixed forest, on soil respiration and microbial community composition in subtropical China, using Barometric Process Separation and phospholipid fatty acid profiles, respectively. We found that the inclusions of N-fixing species in forests significantly increased the soil respiration, but have no effects on SOC and ecosystem total C stock. In addition, soil microbial communities were obviously different among the three forest management regimes. For instance, total and bacterial PLFAs were higher in the E. fordii and mixed forest than in the P. massoniana forest. Conversely, fungal PLFAs in the P. massoniana forest were elevated versus the other two forests. Soil total N, nitrate-N and pH were the key determinants shaping the microbial community composition. Our study suggests that variations in soil respiration in the studied forests could be primarily explained by the differences of root biomass and soil microbial biomass, but not soil organic carbon. Although soil fertility and microbial biomass were promoted, N-fixing plantings also brought on increased CO2 emissions in laboratory assays. The future decision of tree species selection for forest management in subtropical China therefore needs to consider the potential influences of tree species on CO2 emissions.