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Northeastern United-States; temperate forests; wet deposition; soil solution; n deposition; ecosystems; additions; nitrate; consequences; saturation


The nitrogen (N) emissions to the atmosphere and N deposition to forest ecosystems are increasing rapidly in Southeast Asia, but little is known about the fates and effects of elevated N deposition in forest ecosystems in this warm and humid region. Here we report the concentrations and fluxes of dissolved inorganic ( DIN) and organic N ( DON) in precipitation, throughfall, surface runoff and soil solution for three subtropical forests in a region of South China under high air pollution over two years ( 2004 and 2005), to investigate how deposited N is processed, and to examine the importance of DON in the N budget. The precipitation DIN input was 32-34 kg N ha(-1) yr(-1). An additional input of 18 kg N ha(-1) yr(-1) as DON was measured in 2005, which to our knowledge is the highest DON flux ever measured in precipitation. A canopy uptake of DIN was indicated in two young conifer dominated forests ( 72-85% of DIN input reached the floor in throughfall), whereas no uptake occurred in an old-growth broadleaf forest. The DON fluxes in throughfall were similar to that in precipitation in all forests. In the younger forests, DIN was further retained in the soil, with 41-63% of precipitation DIN leached below the 20-cm soil depth. Additionally, about half of the DON input was retained in these forests. The N retention in two young aggrading forests (21-28 kg N ha(-1) yr(-1)) was in accordance with the estimates of N accumulation in biomass and litter accretion. In the old-growth forest, no N retention occurred, but rather a net loss of 8-16 kg N ha(-1) yr(-1) from the soil was estimated. In total up to 60 kg N ha(-1) yr(-1) was leached from the old-growth forest, indicating that this forest was completely N saturated and could not retain additional anthropogenic N inputs. We found that the majority of DIN deposition as well as of DIN leaching occurred in the rainy season ( March to August) and that monthly DIN concentrations and fluxes in leaching were positively related to those in throughfall in all three forests, implying that part of the N leaching was hydrologically driven. Our results suggest that long-term high N deposition has caused elevated N leaching in all three forest types although most pronounced in the old-growth forest where wood increment was negligible or even negative. N availability even exceeded the biotic N demand in the young aggrading forests, with intensive rain in the growing season further enhancing N leaching in these forests.

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Fang, Y. T., Gundersen, P., Mo, J. M., & Zhu, W. X. (2007). Input and output of dissolved organic and inorganic nitrogen in subtropical forests of South China under high air pollution. Biogeosciences Discussions, 4(6), 4135-4171.

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