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Nitrogen cycling in monospecific and mixed-species plantations of Acacia mangium and Eucalyptus at 4 sites in Brazil

Abstract : Mixing N-fixing trees with eucalypts is an attractive option to improve the long-term soil N status in fast-growing plantations established in tropical soils. A randomized block design was replicated at four sites in Brazil to compare the biogeochemical cycles in mono-specific stands of Eucalyptus (100E) and Acacia mangium (100A) with mixed species plantations in a proportion of 1:1 (50A50E). Our study aimed to assess the effects of introducing A. rnangium trees in Eucalyptus plantations on atmospheric N-2 fixation, N cycling and soil organic matter stocks. Litterfall and soil N mineralization were measured over the last two years of the rotation (4-6 years after planting). Aboveground N accumulation in the trees and C and N stocks in the forest floor and in the top soil were intensively sampled at harvesting age. N-2 fixation rates were estimated using the natural abundance of N-15 as well as by the difference between total N stocks in 100A and 50A50E relative to 100E (accretion method). While the N-15 natural abundance method was unsuitable, the accretion method showed consistently across the four sites that atmospheric N fixation reached about 250 and 400 kg N ha(-1) rotation(-1) in 50A50E and 100A, respectively. Except at one site with high mortality, N contents within trees at harvesting were approximately 40% higher in 100A than in 100E. Mean N contents in litterfall and N mineralization rates were about 60% higher in 100A than in 100E, with intermediate values in 50A50E. The amounts of N in litterfall were much more dependent on soil N mineralization rates for acacia trees than for eucalypt trees. Soil C and N stocks were dependent on soil texture but not influenced by tree species. N budgets over a 6-year rotation were enhanced by about 65 kg N ha(-1) yr(-1) in 100A and 40 kg N ha(-1) yr(-1) in 50A50E relative to monospecific eucalypt plantations. Introducing N-fixing trees in eucalypt plantations might therefore contribute to reducing the need for mineral N fertilization in the long-term.
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Submitted on : Friday, October 22, 2021 - 8:51:36 AM
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M. Voigtlaender, C.B. Brandani, D.R.M. Caldeira, Florence Tardy, Jean-Pierre Bouillet, et al.. Nitrogen cycling in monospecific and mixed-species plantations of Acacia mangium and Eucalyptus at 4 sites in Brazil. Forest Ecology and Management, Elsevier, 2019, 436, pp.56-67. ⟨10.1016/j.foreco.2018.12.055⟩. ⟨hal-02627933⟩



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