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Increased precipitation and nitrogen addition accelerate the temporal increase of soil respiration during eight-year old-field grassland succession

Citation

Zhang, Jiajia et al. (2022), Increased precipitation and nitrogen addition accelerate the temporal increase of soil respiration during eight-year old-field grassland succession, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.mgqnk991r

Abstract

Ecological succession after disturbance plays a vital role in influencing ecosystem structure and functioning. However, how global change factors regulate ecosystem carbon (C) cycling in successional plant communities remains largely elusive. As part of an eight-year (2012-2019) manipulative experiment, this study was designed to examine the responses of soil respiration and its heterotrophic component to simulated increases in precipitation and atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition in an old-field grassland undergoing secondary succession. Over the eight-year experimental period, increased precipitation stimulated soil respiration by 11.6%, but did not affect soil heterotrophic respiration. Nitrogen addition increased both soil respiration (5.1%) and heterotrophic respiration (6.2%). Soil respiration and heterotrophic respiration linearly increased with time in the control plots, resulting from changes in soil moisture and shifts of plant community composition from grass-forb codominance to grass dominance in this old-field grassland. Compared to the control, increased precipitation significantly strengthened the temporal increase of soil respiration through stimulating belowground net primary productivity. By contrast, N addition accelerated temporal increases of both soil respiration and its heterotrophic component by driving plant community shifts and thus stimulating soil organic C. Our findings indicate that increases in water and N availabilities may accelerate soil C release during old-field grassland succession and reduce their potential positive impacts on soil C accumulation under future climate change scenarios.