Interplay between N-form and N-dose influences ecosystem effects of N addition to boreal forest
PLANT AND SOIL 2018, 423 (1-2):385-395
Hedwall PO, Gruffman L, Ishida T, From F, Lundmark T, Nasholm T, Nordin A

Nitrogen (N) addition effects on boreal forest ecosystem are influenced by an interplay between N-form and N-dose. We hypothesize that trees take up organic N more efficiently than inorganic N and that unwanted side-effects of organic N are smaller. We predicted that 1) the tree growth response to arginine (ARG) addition is larger than to ammonium-nitrate (AN) and, 2) understory vegetation and ectomycorrhizal (EcM) changes following ARG addition are smaller than following AN addition.
We investigated the effects of AN and ARG addition (50 and 150 kg N ha−1) during five years on tree growth, understory vegetation and EcM fungi in a Pinus sylvestris L. forest (c 50 years old) in northern Sweden.
N addition increased tree growth and changed understory vegetation composition with few significant differences between AN and ARG. Differences in responses mainly occurred for the bryophyte Pleurozium schreberi which decreased more from ARG, and for EcM sporocarps, which sharply declined from AN, but not from ARG.
We found very few differences in responses between AN and ARG addition with the exception of EcM and bryophytes. These species groups have several key functions in boreal forests and the differences in responses merits further investigations.

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