Impact of atmospheric nitrogen deposition on soil properties and herb-layer diversity in remnant forests along an urban-rural gradient in Guangzhou, southern China
发表在:Plant Ecology 213(7) 1187-1202    于:2012

Urbanization; Atmospheric pollution; Soil acidification; Nutrients leaching; Herb-layer richness


 Atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition in subtropical metropolitan regions has increased greatly because of rapid urbanization, and such increase could lead to N-related changes in soil properties and plant diversity in remnant forests of urban ecosystems. To investigate the pattern of atmospheric N deposition along an urban-rural gradient in metropolitan Guangzhou, southern China, and to assess the potential influence of N deposition on soil properties and understory plant diversity in remnant forests, precipitation, and soil samples were collected and vegetation was surveyed from four forest sites between March 2010 and March 2011. The atmospheric inorganic nitrogen deposition (DIN) decreased with increasing distance from the urban center: DIN inputs were 43.3, 41.2, 35.2, and 30.1 kg N ha(-1) year(-1) in two urban sites, a suburban site and a rural site, respectively. However, forest soil N status (NH4 (+)-N, NO3 (-)-N, and total nitrogen) showed the opposite pattern. Understory herb-layer diversity was negatively correlated to DIN input and positively correlated to soil calcium (Ca) and potassium (K) concentrations and pH; with highest herb-layer diversity found in the rural site receiving the lowest amount of DIN input. These results indicated that higher DIN along with soil acidification and leaching of base cations (Ca and K) might change the current N status and increase nutrients leaching and thereby cause reductions in understory plant diversity. A regional policy linking atmospheric pollution and land protection is needed to protect the most N-sensitive herb species (e.g., forbs and ferns) in these remnant forests.

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