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Nitrogen addition increases mass loss of gymnosperm but not of angiosperm deadwood without changing microbial communities

Affiliation
Technische Universität Dresden, Department of Bio- and Environmental Sciences, International Institute Zittau, Germany
Roy, Friederike;
Affiliation
Technische Universität Dresden, Department of Bio- and Environmental Sciences, International Institute Zittau, Germany
Ibayev, Orkhan;
Affiliation
Technische Universität Dresden, Department of Bio- and Environmental Sciences, International Institute Zittau, Germany
Arnstadt, Tobias;
Affiliation
Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, Institute for Ecology, Evolution and Diversity, Department of Conservation Biology, Germany
Bässler, Claus;
Affiliation
University of Bayreuth, Institute for Soil Ecology, Germany
Borken, Werner;
Affiliation
University of Bayreuth, Institute for Soil Ecology, Germany
Groß, Christina;
GND
1139391372
Affiliation
Julius Kühn-Institute (JKI), Institute for National and International Plant Health, Germany
Hoppe, Björn;
Affiliation
University of Applied Sciences Coburg, Institute for Bioanalysis, Germany
Hossen, Shakhawat;
Affiliation
UNESCO-Biosphärenreservat Thüringer Wald, Germany
Kahl, Tiemo;
Affiliation
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Department of Soil Ecology, Germany
Moll, Julia;
Affiliation
University of Applied Sciences Coburg, Institute for Bioanalysis, Germany
Noll, Matthias;
Affiliation
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Department of Soil Ecology, Germany
Purahong, Witoon;
Affiliation
Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, Institute for Ecology, Evolution and Diversity, Department of Conservation Biology, Germany
Schreiber, Jasper;
Affiliation
Technical University of Munich, Terrestrial Ecology Research Group, Germany
Weisser, Wolfgang W.;
Affiliation
Technische Universität Dresden, Department of Bio- and Environmental Sciences, International Institute Zittau, Germany
Hofrichter, Martin;
Affiliation
Technische Universität Dresden, Department of Bio- and Environmental Sciences, International Institute Zittau, Germany
Kellner, Harald

Enhanced nitrogen (N) deposition due to combustion of fossil fuels and agricultural fertilization is a global phenomenon which has severely altered carbon (C) and N cycling in temperate forest ecosystems in the northern hemisphere. Although deadwood holds a substantial amount of C in forest ecosystems and thus plays a crucial role in nutrient cycling, the effect of increased N deposition on microbial processes and communities, wood chemical traits and deadwood mass loss remains unclear. Here, we simulated high N deposition rates by adding reactive N in form of ammonium-nitrate (40 kg N ha−1 yr−1) to deadwood of 13 temperate tree species over nine years in a field experiment in Germany. Non-treated deadwood from the same logs served as control with background N deposition. Our results show that chronically elevated N levels alters deadwood mass loss alongside respiration, enzymatic activities and wood chemistry depending on tree clade and species. In gymnosperm deadwood, elevated N increased mass loss by +38 %, respiration by +37 % and increased laccase activity 12-fold alongside increases of white-rot fungal abundance +89 % (p = 0.03). Furthermore, we observed marginally significant (p = 0.06) shifts of bacterial communities in gymnosperm deadwood. In angiosperm deadwood, we did not detect consistent effects on mass loss, physico-chemical properties, extracellular enzymatic activity or changes in microbial communities except for changes in abundance of 10 fungal OTUs in seven tree species and 28 bacterial OTUs in 10 tree species. We conclude that N deposition alters decomposition processes exclusively in N limited gymnosperm deadwood in the long term by enhancing fungal activity as expressed by increases in respiration rate and extracellular enzyme activity with minor shifts in decomposing microbial communities. By contrast, deadwood of angiosperm tree species had higher N concentrations and mass loss as well as community composition did not respond to N addition.

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License Holder: 2023 The Authors.

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