Journal of Resources and Ecology ›› 2013, Vol. 4 ›› Issue (1): 20-26.DOI: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2013.01.003

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Effects of Species and Low Dose Nitrogen Addition on Litter Decomposition of Three Dominant Grasses in Hulun Buir Meadow Steppe

ZHANG Caihong1,2, LI Shenggong1, ZHANG Leiming1, XIN Xiaoping3, LIU Xingren1   

  1. 1 Key Laboratory of Ecosystem Network Observation and Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China;
    3 Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional Planning, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100081, China
  • Received:2012-11-28 Revised:2013-03-06 Online:2013-03-30 Published:2013-03-26
  • Supported by:

    the National Basic Research Program of China (2010CB833501; 973 Program) and National Major Research Program of China about climate change (2010CB950603).

Abstract: Atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition caused by anthropogenic activities may alter litter decomposition and species composition, and then affect N cycling and carbon (C) sequestration in an ecosystem. Using the litterbag method, we studied the effects of N addition (CK: no N addition; low-N: 1 g N m-2 y-1; high-N: 2 g N m-2 y-1) on changes in mass remaining of shoot litter decomposition of three grasses (Stipa baicalensis, Carex pediformis and Leymus chinensis) over 28 months in the Hulun Buir meadow steppe of Inner Mongolia. The results showed that the addition of high and low N had no significant effect on the decomposition of single-species litter, but low N addition slightly inhibited the decomposition of litter mixtures. In addition, litter decomposition was strongly species dependent. Our results suggest that species type is likely the main determinant of litter decomposition, and low N deposition in natural ecosystems does not influence single-species litter decomposition.

Key words: grassland, mixed litter, N addition, remaining mass