Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2010, Vol. 34 ›› Issue (5): 498-504.doi: 10.3773/j.issn.1005-264x.2010.05.003

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Nutrient availability in habitats affects carbon and nitrogen releases of litter in winter wheat

SHEN Yan1,2; YANG Hui-Ling1; and HE Wei-Ming2*   

  1. 1School of Life Science, Henan Agriculture University, Zhengzhou 450002, China;
    2State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
  • Received:2009-11-11 Online:2010-05-01 Published:2010-05-01
  • Contact: HE Wei-Ming

Abstract: Aims Our objective is to test whether C and N releases in winter wheat (Triticum aestivum) litter change monotonically or unimodally with soil nutrients in its habitats.
Methods We conducted a growth experiment where winter wheat was subjected to 6-level nutrient regimes and a common garden decomposition experiment. We determined initial C:N ratios of live tissues, biomass loss of litters, C:N ratios of remaining litter, and the amounts of C and N releases. We analyzed correlations between initial C:N ratios and C/N release or between C:N ratios. All data were analyzed with SPSS 13.0 and R 2.9.1.
Important findings Litterfall, initial leaf/root C:N ratios, C:N ratios of remaining litter, and C and N releases changed monotonically along a soil nutrient gradient. Soil nutrients had significant effects on biomass loss of leaves, but not of roots. There were negative correlations between initial leaf/root C:N ratios and C and N releases. Initial leaf/root C:N ratios were strongly and positively correlated with C:N ratios of remaining litter. These findings suggest that (1) increased soil nutrients surrounding winter wheat plants enhance C and N return in litter, thereby being beneficial to its growth, (2) C:N ratios indicate the potential amounts of C and N releases, and (3) decomposition processes decrease C:N ratios in remaining litter.

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