Since the late 1950s, land reclamation from lakes has been a common human disturbance to ecosystems in China. It has greatly diminished the lake area, and altered natural ecological succession. However, little is known about its impact on the carbon (C) cycle. We conducted an experiment to examine the variations of chemical properties of dissolved organic matter (DOM) and C mineralization under four land uses, i.e. coniferous forest (CF), evergreen broadleaf forest (EBF), bamboo forest (BF) and cropland (CL) in a reclaimed land area from Taihu Lake. Soils and lake sediments (LS) were incubated for 360 days in the laboratory and the CO2 evolution from each soil during the incubation was fit to a double exponential model. The DOM was analyzed at the beginning and end of the incubation using UV and fluorescence spectroscopy to understand the relationships between DOM chemistry and C mineralization. The C mineralization in our study was influenced by the land use with different vegetation and management. The greatest cumulative CO2-C emission was observed in BF soil at 0-10 cm depth. The active C pool in EBF at 10-25 cm had longer (62 days) mean residence time (MRT). LS showed the highest cumulative CO2-C and shortest MRT comparing with the terrestrial soils. The carbohydrates in DOM were positively correlated with CO2-C evolution and negatively correlated to phenols in the forest soils. Cropland was consistently an outlier in relationships between DOM chemistry and CO2-evolution, highlighting the unique effects that this land use on soil C cycling, which may be attributed the tillage practices. Our results suggest that C mineralization is closely related to the chemical composition of DOM and sensitive to its variation. Conversion of an aquatic ecosystem into a terrestrial ecosystem may alter the chemical structure of DOM, and then influences soil C mineralization.
Outbreaks of nuisance cyanobacterial bloom are predicted to occur frequently under the effect of severe eutrophication in the water body of Lake Dianchi since the 1990s. Riparian buffers are now well recognized for their roles in the removal of inorganic nitrogen mainly via denitrification. Little is known, however, about the mechanisms of nitrate removal in the riparian buffers of Lake Dianchi. We investigated the wet and dry seasonal dynamics of denitrification rate (DNR) in the soil profiles along the topographic gradient in three riparian buffers with different vegetation types (i.e. forest, open forest, and grass). A strong vertical pattern was observed in soil organic C and N concentrations (i.e. total N, DON, NO3-N, and NH4-N) along the soil layers. We also found significantly higher in situ denitrification activity in the upper horizon along each topohydrosequence while the activities of soil denitrification could be detected down to deeper soil horizons (0.1 to 0.8 mg N per kg dry soil per day), which may contribute significantly to the reduction of the ground water nitrate. Meanwhile, the DNR in the zones near the lake was significantly higher than that in zones near the border with the upland terrace, and also in the wet seasons than in dry seasons. Denitrification rates in the forest, open forest and grass sites were significantly different only in wet seasons. Especially, we found soil organic C had a strong correlation with denitrification in all sites, despite the large intersite variability of soil and vegetation. Our data suggested spatial heterogeneity of substrate availability along a hydrologic and topographic gradient can be the primary control on spatial-seasonal patterns of denitrification in riparian buffers.
Soil organic carbon (SOC) actively participates in the global carbon (C) cycle. Despite much research, however, our understanding of the temperature sensitivity of soil organic carbon (SOC) mineralization is still very limited. To investigate the responses of SOC mineralization to temperature, we sampled surface soils (0-10 cm) from evergreen broad-leaf forest (EBF), coniferous forest (CF), sub-alpine dwarf forest (SDF), and alpine meadow (AM) along an elevational gradient in the Wuyi Mountains, China. The soil samples were incubated at 5, 15, 25, and 35°C with constant soil moisture for 360 days. The temperature sensitivity of SOC mineralization (Q(10)) was calculated by comparing the time needed to mineralize the same amount of C at any two adjacent incubation temperatures. Results showed that the rates of SOC mineralization and the cumulative SOC mineralized during the entire incubation significantly increased with increasing incubation temperatures across the four sites. With the increasing extent of SOC being mineralized (increasing incubation time), the Q(10) values increased. Moreover, we found that both the elevational gradient and incubation temperature intervals significantly impacted Q(10) values. Q(10) values of the labile and recalcitrant organic C linearly increased with elevation. For the 5-15, 15-25, and 25-35°C intervals, surprisingly, the overall Q(10) values for the labile C did not decrease as the recalcitrant C did. Generally, our results suggest that subtropical forest soils may release more carbon than expected in a warmer climate.
Stream water dissolved organic carbon (DOC) correlates positively with soil organic carbon (SOC) in many biomes. Does this relationship hold in a small geographic region when variations of temperature, precipitation and vegetation are driven by a significant altitudinal gradient? We examined the spatial connectivity between concentrations of DOC in headwater stream and contents of riparian SOC and water-soluble soil organic carbon (WSOC), riparian soil C:N ratio, and temperature in four vegetation types along an altitudinal gradient in the Wuyi Mountains, China. Our analyses showed that annual mean concentrations of headwater stream DOC were lower in alpine meadow (AM) than in subtropical evergreen broadleaf forest (EBF), coniferous forest (CF), and subalpine dwarf forest (SDF). Headwater stream DOC concentrations were negatively correlated with riparian SOC as well as WSOC contents, and were unrelated to riparian soil C:N ratio. Our findings suggest that DOC concentrations in headwater streams are affected by different factors at regional and local scales. The dilution effect of higher precipitation and adsorption of soil DOC to higher soil clay plus silt content at higher elevation may play an important role in causing lower DOC concentrations in AM stream of the Wuyi Mountains. Our results suggest that upscaling and downscaling of the drivers of DOC export from forested watersheds when exploring the response of carbon flux to climatic change or other drivers must done with caution.
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