Nitrogen (N) exerts strong effects on litter decomposition through altering microbial abundance and community composition. However, the effect of N addition on plant-soil interactions such as home-field advantage (HFA: enhanced decomposition at a home environment compared to a guest environment) in relation to litter decomposition remains unclear. To fill this knowledge gap, we conducted a reciprocal litter transplant plus N addition experiment in Mytilaria laosensis and Cunninghamia lanceolata plantations for two years in subtropical China where anthropogenic N input is amongst the highest in the world. We found positive HFA effects (in which the calculation incorporates litter of both species) with litter mass loss 11.2% faster at home than in the guest environment in the N addition (50 kg N ha-1 yr-1) treatment, but no significant HFA effects were found in the control treatment. The magnitude of the HFA effect on carbon (C) release increased with N addition, while that on N release decreased. The HFA effects on phosphorus, potassium, calcium, sodium, and magnesium release were positive overall, but varied through time and the magnitude of the effects were different among elements. The greater HFA effects in the N addition treatment were associated with greater differences in microbial biomass and community composition between home and guest environments than in the control treatment. Our results indicate that anthropogenic N enrichment could lead to enhanced HFA effects, through modification of microbial communities, and thereby affect C sequestration and N cycling in subtropical forests.
ASJC Scopus subject areas