Is there a feedback between N availability in siliceous and calcareous soils and Cistus albidus leaf chemical composition?

Castells E., Peñuelas J. (2003) Is there a feedback between N availability in siliceous and calcareous soils and Cistus albidus leaf chemical composition?. Oecologia. 136: 183-192.
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Doi: 10.1007/s00442-003-1258-8

Resum:

The effects of the Mediterranean shrub Cistus albidus on N cycling were studied in two siliceous (granitic-derived and schistic-derived) and one calcareous soil differentiated by their texture and acidity. We aimed to find out whether soils under C. albidus were affected by the release of C compounds from the canopy, and whether phenolic compound production in C. albidus changed depending on the soil N availability. Calcareous soils, with higher clay content and polyvalent cations, had a higher organic matter content but lower net N mineralization rates than siliceous soils, and C. albidus growing therein were characterized by lower foliar N and phenolic compound concentrations. Under C. albidus, all types of soils had higher phenolic compound concentrations and polyphenol oxidase activity. C. albidus presence and leachate addition decreased net N mineralization and increased soil respiration in siliceous soils, and these changes were related to a higher soil C/N ratio under the canopy. In calcareous soils, however, no significant effects of plant presence on N cycling were found. In the studied plant-soil system it is not likely that higher phenolic compound concentrations were selected during evolution to enhance nutrient conservation in soil because (1) higher phenolic compound concentrations were not associated with lower soil fertilities, (2) C compounds released from C. albidus accelerated N cycling by increasing N immobilization and no evidence was found for decreased gross N mineralization, and (3) soil organic N content was more related to soil chemical and physical properties than to the effects of the C. albidus canopy.

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Influence of the phenolic compound bearing species Ledum palustre on soil N cycling in a boreal hardwood forest

Castells E., Peñuelas J., Valentine D.W. (2003) Influence of the phenolic compound bearing species Ledum palustre on soil N cycling in a boreal hardwood forest. Plant and Soil. 251: 155-166.
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Doi: 10.1023/A:1022923114577

Resum:

The effects of the understory shrub Ledum palustre on soil N cycling were studied in a hardwood forest of Interior Alaska. This species releases high concentrations of phenolic compounds from green leaves and decomposing litter by rainfall. Organic and mineral soils sampled underneath L. palustre and at nearby non-Ledum sites were amended with L. palustre litter leachates and incubated at controlled conditions. We aimed to know (i) whether L. palustre presence and litter leachate addition changed net N cycling rates in organic and mineral soils, and (ii) what N cycling processes, including gross N mineralization, N immobilization and gross N nitrification, were affected in association with L. palustre. Our results indicate that N transformation rates in the surface organic horizon were not affected by L. palustre presence or leachate addition. However, mineral soils underneath L. palustre as well as soils amended with leachates had significantly higher C/N ratios and microbial respiration rates, and lower net N mineralization and N-to-C mineralization compared to no Ledum and no leachates soils. No nitrification was detected. Plant presence and leachate addition also tended to increase both gross N mineralization and immobilization. These results suggest that soluble C compounds present in L. palustre increased N immobilization in mineral soils when soil biota used them as a C source. Increases in gross N mineralization may have been caused by an enhanced microbial biomass due to C addition. Since both plant presence and leachate addition decreased soil C/N ratio and had similar effects on N transformation rates, our results suggest that litter leachates could be partially responsible for plant presence effects. The lower N availability under L. palustre canopy could exert negative interactions on the establishment and growth of other plant species.

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