Soil Nitrogen and Sulfur Leaching in a Subtropical Forest at a Transition State under Decreasing Atmospheric Deposition

Piaopiao Ke, Gaoyue Si, Yao Luo, Zhenglin Cheng, Qian Yu, Lei Duan
2021 Forests  
Anthropogenic emissions of nitrogen- (N) and sulfur (S)-containing pollutants have declined across China in recent years. However, the responses of N and S depositions and dynamics in soil remain unclear in subtropical forests. In this study, the wet and throughfall depositions of dissolved inorganic N (DIN) and SO42− were continuously monitored in a mildly polluted subtropical forest in Southeast China in 2017 and 2018. Moreover, these solutes in soil water along the soil profile were
more » ... in 2018. Throughfall deposition of DIN and S decreased by 59% and 53% in recent 3 years, respectively, which can be majorly attributed to the decreases in wet depositions of NO3− and SO42−. Meanwhile, NH4+ deposition remained relatively stable at this site. Even though N deposition in 2018 was below the N saturation threshold for subtropical forests, significant N leaching still occurred. Excess export of N occurred in the upper soil layer (0–15 cm), reaching 6.86 ± 1.54 kg N/ha/yr, while the deeper soil (15–30 cm) was net sink of N as 8.29 ± 1.71 kg N/ha/yr. Similarly, S was excessively exported from the upper soil with net flux of 14.7 ± 3.15 kg S/ha/yr, while up to 6.37 ± 3.18 kg S/ha/yr of S was retained in the deeper soil. The significant N and S leaching under declined depositions suggested that this site possibly underwent a transition state, recovering from historically high acid deposition. Furthermore, the rainfall intensity remarkably regulated leaching and retention of SO42− and DIN at this site. The impacts of climate changes on N and S dynamics require further long-term monitoring in subtropical forests.
doi:10.3390/f12121798 fatcat:q22chjmtcbgnncqfrufffy72qm