Soil N:P Ratio and Its Regulation Factors in Alpine Wetlands Across the Three Rivers Source Region

Journal of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition(2023)

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Although the ratio of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) could significantly influence ecosystem services and functions, their characteristics and controlling factors are not well-known in the Three Rivers Source Region alpine wetlands. Using data from 32 sites, we estimated the soil N:P ratio. Ordinary least square method, partial correlation analysis, variation partitioning analysis, and structural equation modeling were used to estimate the effects of controlling factors on soil N:P ratio. The soil N:P ratio was on average 8.91 ± 5.04. Soil characteristics, including soil total N, soil moisture, soil pH, NH4+-N, and NO3—N, played an important role in determining soil N:P ratio. The mean annual precipitation exhibited a stronger positive correlation with soil N:P ratio than the mean annual temperature. Belowground biomass had a stronger influence on soil N:P ratio than aboveground biomass. Meanwhile, the soil N:P ratio also positively correlated with soil microbial biomass. Variation partitioning analysis revealed that abiotic and biotic factors explained 83.54% of the total soil N:P ratio variation. Abiotic factors explained more of the variation in soil N:P ratio than biotic factors, 46.13% of the total variation. And, soil factor was the most significant factor in determining soil N:P ratio. Our finding presented evidence that climate factors of mean annual temperature and mean annual precipitation can affect N content in plant, then regulate microbial biomass C, and finally control soil total N and soil N:P ratio in the Three Rivers Source Region alpine wetlands, which contributed to understanding soil nutrient element dynamics in the terrestrial ecosystem.
Soil N:P ratio, Controlling factors, Alpine wetlands, Three Rivers Source Region, Tibetan Plateau
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