N-fixing trees in restoration plantings

Effects on nitrogen supply and soil microbial communities

M. Hoogmoed, Shaun C. Cunningham, P. Baker, Jason Beringer, Cavagnaro Cavagnaro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Mixed-species restoration tree plantings are being established increasingly, contributing to mitigate climate change and restore ecosystems. Including nitrogen (N)-fixing tree species may increase carbon (C) sequestration in mixed-species plantings, as these species may substantially increase soil C beneath them. We need to better understand the role of N-fixers in mixed-species plantings to potentially maximize soil C sequestration in these systems. Here, we present a field-based study that asked two specific questions related to the inclusion of N-fixing trees in a mixed-species planting: 1) Do non-N- fixing trees have access to N derived from fixation of atmospheric N2 by neighbouring N-fixing trees? 2) Do soil microbial communities differ under N-fixing trees and non-N-fixing trees in a mixed-species restoration planting? We sampled leaves from the crowns, and litter and soils beneath the crowns of two N-fixing and two non-N-fixing tree species that dominated the planting. Using the 15N natural abundance method, we found indications that fixed atmospheric N was utilized by the non-N-fixing trees, most likely through tight root connections or organic forms of N from the litter layer, rather than through the decomposition of N-fixers litter. While the two N-fixing tree species that were studied appeared to fix atmospheric N, they were substantially different in terms of C and N addition to the soil, as well as microbial community composition beneath them. This shows that the effect of N-fixing tree species on soil carbon sequestration is species-specific, cannot be generalized and requires planting trails to determine if there will be benefits to carbon sequestration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-212
Number of pages10
JournalSoil Biology and Biochemistry
Volume77
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014

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microbial communities
microbial community
Nitrogen
Soil
planting
nitrogen
soil
Carbon Sequestration
carbon sequestration
litter
Crowns
tree crown
restoration
effect
Nitrogen Fixation
tree planting
Climate Change
soil carbon
fixation
community composition

Cite this

Hoogmoed, M. ; Cunningham, Shaun C. ; Baker, P. ; Beringer, Jason ; Cavagnaro, Cavagnaro. / N-fixing trees in restoration plantings : Effects on nitrogen supply and soil microbial communities. In: Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 2014 ; Vol. 77. pp. 203-212.
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N-fixing trees in restoration plantings : Effects on nitrogen supply and soil microbial communities. / Hoogmoed, M.; Cunningham, Shaun C.; Baker, P.; Beringer, Jason; Cavagnaro, Cavagnaro.

In: Soil Biology and Biochemistry, Vol. 77, 10.2014, p. 203-212.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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