Unraveling the Influence of Land-Use Change on δ 13C, δ 15N, and Soil Nutritional Status in Coniferous, Broadleaved, and Mixed Forests in Southern China: A Field Investigation

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Farooq, Taimoor Hassan
Chen, Xiaoyong
Shakoor, AwaisShakoor, Awais - ORCID ID
Li, Yong
Wang, Jun
Rashid, Muhammad Haroon U.
Kumar, Uttam
Yan, Wende
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cc-by (c) Taimoor Hassan Farooq et.al., 2021
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Natural isotopic abundance in soil and foliar can provide integrated information related to the long-term alterations of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) cycles in forest ecosystems. We evaluated total carbon (TC), total nitrogen (TN), and isotopic natural abundance of C (δ 13C) and N (δ 15N) in soil and foliar of coniferous plantation (CPF), natural broadleaved forest (NBF), and mixed forest stands at three different soil depths (i.e., 0–10, 10–20, and 20–40 cm). This study also explored how soil available nutrients are affected by different forest types. Lutou forest research station, located in Hunan Province, central China, was used as the study area. Results demonstrated that the topsoil layer had higher TC and TN content in the mixed forest stand, resulting in a better quality of organic materials in the topsoil layer in the mixed forest than NBF and CPF. In general, soil TC, TN, and δ 15N varied significantly in different soil depths and forest types. However, the forest type did not exhibit any significant effect on δ 13C. Overall, soil δ 13C was significantly enriched in CPF, and δ 15N values were enriched in mixed forest. Foliar C content varied significantly among forest types, whereas foliar N content was not significantly different. No big differences were observed for foliar δ 15N and δ 13C across forest types. However, foliar δ 13C and δ 15N were positively related to soil δ 13C and δ 15N, respectively. Foliar N, soil and foliar C:N ratio, soil moisture content (SMC), and forest type were observed as the major influential factors affecting isotopic natural abundance, whereas soil pH was not significantly correlated. In addition, forest type change and soil depth increment had a significant effect on soil nutrient availability. In general, soil nutrient availability was higher in mixed forest. Our findings implied that forest type and soil depth alter TC, TN, and soil δ 15N, whereas δ 13C was only driven by soil depth. Moreover, plantations led to a decline in soil available nutrient content compared with NBF and mixed forest stands
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Plants, 2021, núm. 10, 1499