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    Author(s): Xiajie Zhai; Kesi Liu; Deborah M. Finch; Ding Huang; Shiming Tang; Shuiyan Li; Hongfei Liu; Kun Wang
    Date: 2019
    Source: Soil Research. 57: 875-882.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (526.0 KB)


    Ecological stoichiometry affects the processes and functions of ecosystems, but the similarities and differences of stoichiometric characteristics among diverse agropastoral ecosystems under the same climatic conditions remain unclear. In this study, plant and soil stoichiometric characteristics of different agroecosystems, namely natural grassland (free-grazing and mowed grassland), artificial grassland (oat, Chinese leymus and corn silage), field crops (naked oats, flax and wheat) and commercial crops (cabbage and potatoes), were investigated in Guyuan County, China. Results showed total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorus (TP) and N: P ratios in plant tissue varied significantly among ecosystem types (P < 0.05). In general, the mean soil organic carbon, TN and TP content in the 0-0.3 m soil layer in potatoes (8.01, 1.05 and 0.33 g kg-1 respectively) were significantly lower than in other agroecosystems (P < 0.05). The mean C:N ratios of the 0–0.3 m soil layer did not differ significantly among the agroecosystems (P > 0.05). However, the C: P ratio was lower in potato than cabbage sites (24.64 vs 33.17), and was lower at both these sites than in other agroecosystems (P < 0.05). With regard to N: P ratios, only the potato ecosystem had lower values than in other ecosystems (P < 0.05), which did not differ significantly (P > 0.05). Above all, N is more likely to be limiting than P for biomass production in local agroecosystems. Soil C : P and N: P ratios decreased significantly with an increase in the utilisation intensity (from natural grassland to commercial crop). The findings of this study suggest that restoring, preserving and increasing soil organic carbon (especially for cabbage and potatoes), scientifically adjusting the application of N and P fertiliser and enhancing subsidies for low-loss soil nutrient systems, such as grassland, rather than commercial crops will help improve and sustain agroecosystems.

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    Zhai, Xiajie; Liu, Kesi; Finch, Deborah M.; Huang, Ding; Tang, Shiming; Li, Shuiyan; Liu, Hongfei; Wang, Kun. 2019. Stoichiometric characteristics of different agroecosystems under the same climatic conditions in the agropastoral ecotone of northern China. Soil Research. 57: 875-882.


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    ecosystem, farmland, grassland

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