Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2017, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (1): 71-80.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2016.0093

Special Issue: 中国灌丛生态系统碳储量的研究专辑

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Responses of growth and litterfall production to nitrogen addition treatments from common shrublands in Mt. Dongling, Beijing, China

Jian-Hua ZHANG1,2,*(), Zhi-Yao TANG3, Hai-Hua SHEN2, Jing-Yun FANG2,3   

  1. 1Xinzhou Normal University, Xinzhou, Shanxi 034000, China

    2State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
    3College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, and Key Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes of the Ministry of Education, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
  • Received:2016-03-11 Accepted:2016-09-21 Online:2017-01-10 Published:2017-01-23
  • Contact: Jian-Hua ZHANG
  • About author:

    KANG Jing-yao(1991-), E-mail:


Aims The shrublands of northern China have poor soil and nitrogen (N) deposition has greatly increased the local soil available N for decades. Shrub growth is one of important components of C sequestration in shrublands and litterfall acts as a vital link between plants and soil. Both are key factors in nutrient and energy cycling of terrestrial ecosystems, which greatly affected by nitrogen (N) addition (adding N fertilizer to the surface soil directly). However, the effects and significance of N addition on C sequestration and litterfall in shrublands remain unclear. Thus, a study was designed to investigate how N deposition and related treatments affected shrublands growth related to C sequestration and litterfall production of Vitex negundo var. heterophylla and Spiraea salicifolia in Mt. Dongling region of China.
Methods A N enrichment experiment has been conducted for V. negundo var. heterophylla and S. salicifolia shrublands in Mt. Dongling, Beijing, including four N addition treatment levels (control (N0, 0 kg N·hm-2·a-1), low N (N1, 20 kg N·hm-2·a-1), medium N (N2, 50 kg N·hm-2·a-1) and high N (N3, 100 kg N·hm-2·a-1)). Basal diameter and plant height of shrub were measured from 2012-2013 within all treatments, and allometric models for different species of shrub’s live branch, leaf and root biomass were developed based on independent variables of basal diameter and plant height, which will be used to calculate biomass increment of shrub layer. Litterfall (litterfall sometimes is named litter, referring to the collective name for all organic matter produced by the aboveground part of plants and returned to the surface, and mainly includes leaves, bark, dead twigs, flowers and fruits.) also was investigated from 2012-2013 within all treatments.
Important findings The results showed 1) mean basal diameter of shrubs in the V. negundo var. heterophylla and S. salicifolia shrublands were increased by 1.69%, 2.78%, 2.51%, 1.80% and 1.38%, 1.37%, 1.59%, 2.05% every year; 2) The height growth rate (the shrub height relative growth rate is defined with the percentage increase of plant height) of shrubs in the V. negundo var. heterophylla and S. salicifolia shrublands were 8.36%, 8.48%, 9.49%, 9.83% and 2.12%, 2.86%, 2.36%, 2.52% every year, respectively. Thee results indicated that N deposition stimulated growth of shrub layer both in V. negundo var. heterophylla and S. salicifolia shrublands, but did not reach statistical significance among all nitrogen treatments. The above-ground biomass increment of shrub layer in the V. negundo var. heterophylla and S. salicifolia shrublands were 0.19, 0.23, 0.14, 0.15 and 0.027, 0.025, 0.032, 0.041 t C·hm-2·a-1 respectively, which demonstrated that short-term N addition had no significant effects on the accumulation of C storage of the two shrublands. The litter production of the V. negundo var. heterophylla and S. salicifolia communities in 2013 were 135.7 and 129.6 g·m-2 under natural conditions, respectively. Nitrogen addition promoted annual production of total litterfall and different components of litterfall to a certain extent, but did not reach statistical significance among all nitrogen treatments. Above results indicated that short-term fertilization, together with extremely low soil moisture content and other related factors, lead to inefficient use of soil available nitrogen and slow response of shrublands to N addition treatments.

Key words: nitrogen deposition, carbon cycle, temperate shrublands, growth rate, litterfall, seasonal dynamics