Responses of soil dissolved organic matter to long-term plantations of three coniferous tree species
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Tree species have significant effects on the availability and dynamics of soil organic matter. In the present study, the pool sizes of soil dissolved organic matter (DOM), potential mineralizable N (PMN) and bioavailable carbon (C) (measured as cumulative CO2 evolution over 63 days) were compared in soils under three coniferous species - 73 year old slash (Pinus elliottii), hoop (Araucaria cunninghamii) and kauri (Agathis robusta) pines. Results have shown that dissolved organic N (DON) in hot water extracts was 1.5-1.7 times lower in soils under slash pine than under hoop and kauri pines, while soil dissolved organic C (DOC) in hot water extracts tended to be higher under slash pine than hoop and kauri pines but this was not statistically significant. This has led to the higher DOC:DON ratio in soils under slash pine (32) than under hoop and kauri pines (17). Soil DOC and DON in 2 M KCl extracts were not significantly different among the three tree species. The DOC:DON ratio (hot water extracts) was positively and significantly correlated with soil C:N (R2=0.886, Pb0.01) and surface litter C:N ratios (R2=0.768, Pb0.01), indicating that DOM was mainly derived from litter materials and soil organic matter through dissolution and decomposition. Soil pH was lower under slash pine (4.5) than under hoop (6.0) and kauri (6.2) pines, and negatively correlated with soil total C, C:N ratio, DOC and DOC:DON ratio (hot water extracts), indicating the soil acidity under slash pine favored the accumulation of soil C. Moreover, the amounts of dissolved inorganic N, PMN and bio-available C were also significantly lower in soils under slash pine than under hoop and kauri pines. It is concluded that changes in the quantity and quality of surface litters and soil pH induced by different tree species largely determined the size and quality of soil DOM, and plantations of hoop and kauri pine trees may be better in maintaining long-term soil N fertility than slash pine plantations.
Soil Chemistry (excl. Carbon Sequestration Science)