Pedosphere 30(2): 181--189, 2020
ISSN 1002-0160/CN 32-1315/P
©2020 Soil Science Society of China
Published by Elsevier B.V. and Science Press
Impact of living mulch on soil C:N:P stoichiometry in orchards across China: A meta-analysis examining climatic, edaphic, and biotic dependency
Guo CHEN1, Shibin LIU1, Yangzhou XIANG2, Xiaolu TANG1, Haitao LIU3, Bin YAO4, Xuqiang LUO2
1College of Earth Science, Chengdu University of Technology, Chengdu 610059 (China);
2School of Geography and Resources, Guizhou Education University, Guiyang 550018 (China);
3Resources and Environment College, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou 450002 (China);
4Institute of Desertification Studies, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091 (China)
ABSTRACT
      The use of living mulch in orchards is a widely accepted management strategy for improving soil quality and enhancing tree productivity. Although the effects of living mulch on soil organic carbon (C) and nutrients have been previously investigated, changes in the stoichiometric ratios of C, soil total nitrogen (N), and soil total phosphorous (P) under different climatic, edaphic, and biotic conditions are currently unknown. These factors are important indicators of elemental balance associated with ecological interactions. In order to examine the effects of living mulch in orchards on soil C:N:P stoichiometry under different conditions, a meta-analysis was undertaken. The results showed that in general, living mulch significantly (P < 0.05) increased C:P and N:P ratio, while the impact on C:N ratio was not significant, a result that was related to the coupled increase of C and N. Phosphorous limitation occurred shortly after the addition of living mulch; after four years this effect receded. In contrast, an increase in C occurred simultaneously with N increase at all stages. Specifically, the treatment effect was context-dependent. The living mulch did not change soil stoichiometry in orchards with old trees (> 10 years), an occurrence which may be related to changes in the amount of fungi. Grass life history also had a significant influence on the treatment effect on soil stoichiometry, while N-fixing characteristics did not. The treatment effect was significant in areas with moderate mean annual temperature and mean annual precipitation, which might be related to the litter ratio of grass and trees. Effects on stoichiometric ratios were significant in the top soil layer (0-20 cm), in contrast to the deep soil layers. Therefore, grass species and management practices, such as fertilization, should be selected according to the specific soil and climatic conditions of the management area.
Key Words:  elemental balance,grass species,interaction,management practices,N fixation,stoichiometric ratio
Citation: Chen G, Liu S B, Xiang Y Z, Tang X L, Liu H T, Yao B, Luo X Q. 2020. Impact of living mulch on soil C: N: P stoichiometry in orchards across China: A meta-analysis examining climatic, edaphic, and biotic dependency. Pedosphere. 30(2): 181-189.
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