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Phosphorus fertilisation under nitrogen limitation can deplete soil carbon stocks: evidence from Swedish meta-replicated long-term field experiments

Poeplau, Christopher and Bolinder, Martin and Kirchmann, Holger and Kätterer, Thomas (2016). Phosphorus fertilisation under nitrogen limitation can deplete soil carbon stocks: evidence from Swedish meta-replicated long-term field experiments. Biogeosciences. 13:4, 1119-1127
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Abstract

Increasing soil organic carbon (SOC) in agricultural soils can mitigate atmospheric CO2 concentration and also contribute to increased soil fertility and ecosystem resilience. The role of major nutrients in SOC dynamics is complex, due to simultaneous effects on net primary productivity (NPP) that influence crop residue carbon inputs and in the rate of heterotrophic respiration (carbon outputs). This study investigated the effect on SOC stocks of three different levels of phosphorus and potassium (PK) fertilisation rates in the absence of nitrogen fertilisation and of three different levels of nitrogen fertiliser in the absence of PK fertiliser. This was done by analysing data from 10 meta-replicated Swedish long-term field experiments (> 45 years). With N fertilisation, SOC stocks followed yield increases. However, for all PK levels, we found average SOC losses ranging from 0.04 +/- 0.09 Mg ha(-1) yr(-1) (ns) for the lowest to 0.09 +/- 0.07 Mg ha(-1) yr(-1) (p = 0.008) for the highest application rate, while crop yields as a proxy for carbon input increased significantly with PK fertilisation by 1, 10 and 15 %. We conclude that SOC dynamics are mainly output-driven in the PK-fertilised regime but mostly input-driven in the N-fertilised regime, due to the much more pronounced response of NPP to N than to PK fertilisation. It has been established that P rather than K is the element affecting ecosystem carbon fluxes, where P fertilisation has been shown to (i) stimulate heterotrophic respiration, (ii) reduce the abundance of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and (iii) decrease the crop root : shoot ratio, leading to higher root-derived carbon input. The higher export of N in the PK-fertilised plots in this study could (iv) have led to increased N mining and thus mineralisation of organic matter. More integrated experiments are needed to gain a better understanding of the relative importance of each of the above-mentioned mechanisms leading to SOC losses after P addition.

Authors/Creators:Poeplau, Christopher and Bolinder, Martin and Kirchmann, Holger and Kätterer, Thomas
Title:Phosphorus fertilisation under nitrogen limitation can deplete soil carbon stocks: evidence from Swedish meta-replicated long-term field experiments
Series/Journal:Biogeosciences (1726-4189)
Year of publishing :2016
Depositing date:17 June 2016
Volume:13
Number:4
Page range:1119-1127
Number of Pages:9
Publisher:Copernicus Publications
ISSN:1726-4189
Language:English
Publication Type:Journal article
Refereed:Yes
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Full Text Status:Public
Agris subject categories.:F Plant production > F04 Fertilizing
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 401 Agricultural, Forestry and Fisheries > Soil Science
Agrovoc terms:agricultural soils, organic matter, microbial flora, fertilizers
Keywords:agricultural soils, organic-matter, microbial community, root ratio, sequestration, nutrient, shoot, barley, fungi, rates
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-e-3586
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-e-3586
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
Web of Science (WoS)000372082200015
DOI10.5194/bg-13-1119-2016
ID Code:13439
Faculty:NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Soil and Environment
(S) > Dept. of Soil and Environment

(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Ecology
(S) > Dept. of Ecology
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:11 Aug 2016 13:04
Metadata Last Modified:11 Aug 2016 13:04

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