Key words Land-use change
Net N mineralization
Soil microbial biomass N
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
Abstract A field study was conducted to investigate the effect of abandonment of management on net N mineralization (NNM) in subalpine meadows. NNM, soil microbial biomass N (SMBN), fungal biomass and physicochemical characteristics (total C, total N, dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and pH) were determined in surface (0–10 cm) soil from May to October 1997 in an intensively managed and an abandoned meadow at 1770 m a.s.l.. The cumulative NNM was lower in the abandoned area and ranged from 150 to 373 and from 25 to 85 μg N g–1 soil in the intensively managed and the abandoned areas, respectively. The total organic C increased in the abandoned area, while total N showed no difference between abandoned and managed meadow. SMBN showed no difference between the investigated sites, whereas ergosterol, a measure of fungal biomass, increased significantly at the abandoned site. The cumulative NNM was negatively correlated with total organic C, C : N ratio, DOC and ergosterol content, and positively correlated with the NH4 +-N content of soil. The decrease in NNM at the abandoned site may be explained by the lower availability of N in substrates characterized by a high C : N ratio which, together with a decrease in pH in the litter layer, may have increased fungal biomass.
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