Martinson, G.; Corre, M. & Veldkamp, E. (2012): <b>Responses of nitrous oxide fluxes and soil nitrogen cycling to nutrient additions in montane forests along an elevation gradient in southern Ecuador</b>. <i>Biogeochemistry</i> <b>online </b>, online.
Responses of nitrous oxide fluxes and soil nitrogen cycling to nutrient additions in montane forests along an elevation gradient in southern Ecuador
eveldka <at> uni-goettingen.de
Institut für Bodenkunde und Waldernährung
Tropical montane forests are commonly limited by N or co-limited by N and P. Projected increases in N deposition in tropical montane regions are thought to be insufficient for vegetation demand and are not therefore expected to affect soil N availability and N2O emissions. We established a factorial Nand P-addition experiment (i.e., N, P, N ? P, and control) across an elevation gradient of montane forests in Ecuador to test these hypotheses: (1) moderate rates of N and P additions are able to stimulate soil-N cycling rates and N2O fluxes, and (2) the magnitude and timing of soil N2O-flux responses depend on the initial nutrient status of the forest soils. Moderate rates of nutrients were added: 50 kg N ha-1 year-1 (in the form of urea) and 10 kg P ha-1 year-1 (in the form of NaH2PO4 . 2H2O) split in two equal applications. We tested the hypotheses by measuring changes in net rates of soil–N cycling and N2O fluxes during the first 2 years (2008??2009) of nutrient manipulation in an oldgrowth premontane forest at 1,000 m, growing on a Cambisol soil with no organic layer, in an old-growth lower montane forest at 2,000 m, growing on a Cambisol soil with an organic layer, and an oldgrowth upper montane rainforest at 3,000 m, growing on a Histosol soil with a thick organic layer. Among the control plots, net nitrification rates were largest at the 1,000-m site whereas net nitrification was not detectable at the 2,000and 3,000-m sites. The already large net nitrification at the 1,000-m site was not affected by nutrient additions, but net nitrification became detectable at the 2,000and 3000-m sites after the second year of N and N + P additions. N2O emissions increased rapidly following N and N ? P additions at the 1,000-m site whereas only smaller increases occurred at the 2,000and 3,000-m sites during the second year of N and N + P additions. Addition of P alone had no effect on net rates of soil N cycling and N2O fluxes at any elevation. Our results showed that the initial soil N status, which may also be influenced by presence or absence of organic layer, soil moisture and temperature as encompassed by the elevation gradient, is a good indicator of how soil N cycling and N2O fluxes may respond to future increases in nutrient additions.