Biodiversity Science ›› 2010, Vol. 18 ›› Issue (4): 390-397.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2010.390

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Effects of nitrogen addition on soil fauna communities in Larix gmelinii and Fraxinus mandshurica plantations

Haifeng Zhuang; Yue Sun; Jiacun Gu; Yang Xu; Zhengquan Wang*   

  1. School of Forestry, Northeast Forestry University, Harbin 150040
  • Received:2010-03-05 Online:2010-07-20
  • Zhengquan Wang

Soil fauna play a key role in regulating carbon allocation and nutrient cycling in terrestrial ecosystems. As soil fauna are sensitive to environmental changes, increases in soil nitrogen (N) availability resulting from global changes may profoundly influence the structure and function of soil faunal communities. However, the response of soil fauna in forest ecosystems to increases in soil N availability is still poorly understood. In order to explore the relationship between soil N availability and soil fauna, we examined the effects of N addition on the density, grouping and feeding habits of soil fauna in larch (Larix gmelinii) and ash (Fraxinus mandshurica) plantations in northeastern China from 2008 to 2009. Our results showed that N addition changed the structure of soil fauna communities in both plantations. After N addition in the larch plantation, densities of soil fauna in surface soil layers (0–10 cm) increased by an average of 12% (July) and 15% (October) in 2008, whereas they decreased by 22% (May) and 20% (July) in 2009. A similar pattern occurred in the ash plantation—densities increased by an average of 14% (July) and 8% (October) in 2008, and decreased by 22% (May) and 9% (July) in 2009. In contrast, densities of soil fauna in subsurface layers (10–20 cm) increased in both plantations only in July of 2008 and then decreased significantly (25% in larch and 21% in ash) in following samples. The number of soil faunal groups increased from 34 to 43 in the larch plantation and from 43 to 48 in the ash plantation post N addition. In both plantations, N addition altered the densities of soil fauna with different feeding habits, with a decrease in soil detritivores and an increase in soil herbivores and no change in soil predators. These findings indicated that increasing soil N availability significantly altered the density, and community composition in terms of feeding habits, of soil fauna in both plantations, thereby potentially influencing belowground carbon allocation and nutrient cycling at the ecosystem level.

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