C:N:P stoichiometry in Australian soils with respect to vegetation and environmental factors
- 1.2k Downloads
We estimate organic carbon (C): total nitrogen (N): total phosphorus (P) ratios in soils under Australia’s major native vegetation groups.
We use digital datasets for climate, soils, and vegetation created for the National Land and Water Resources Audit in 2001. Analysis-of-variance is used to investigate differences in nutrient ratios between ecosystems. Linear discriminant analysis and logistic regression are used to investigate the relative importance of climatic variables and soil nutrients in vegetation patterns.
We find that the N:P and C:P ratios have a greater range of values than the C:N ratio, although major vegetation groups tend to show similar trends across all three ratios. Some apparently homeostatic groupings emerge: those with very low, low, medium, or high N:P and C:P. Tussock grasslands have very low soil N, N:P, and C:P, probably due to frequent burning. Eucalypt woodlands have low soil N:P and C:P ratios, although their total P level varies. Rainforests and Melaleuca forests have medium soil N:P and C:P ratios, although their total P level is different. Heathlands, tall open eucalypt forests, and shrublands occur on soils with low levels of total P, and high N:P and C:P ratios that reflect foliar nutrient ratios and recalcitrant litter.
Certain plant communities have typical soil nutrient stoichiometries but there is no single Redfield-like ratio. Vegetation patterns largely reflect soil moisture but for several plant communities, eucalypt communities in particular, soil N and P (or N:P) also play a significant role. Soil N:P and the presence of Proteaceae appear indicative of nutrient constraints in ecosystems.
KeywordsSoil organic carbon Soil nutrient Stoichiometry C:N ratio N:P ratio Edaphic factors Eucalypt communities Heathlands Rainforests Proteaceae Understorey Australia
I want to thank John Raison and Alister Spain for useful comments on the draft of this paper.
- Adams MA (1996) Distribution of eucalypts in Australian landscapes: landforms, soils, fire and nutrition. In: Attiwill PM, Adams MA (eds) Nutrition of eucalypts. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, pp 61–76Google Scholar
- Alexander M (1977) Introduction to soil microbiology, 2nd edn. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Attiwill PM, Polglase PJ, Weston CJ, Adams MA (1996) Nutrient cycling in forests of south-eastern Australia. In: Attiwill PM, Adams MA (eds) Nutrition of eucalypts. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, pp 191–227Google Scholar
- Cleveland CC, Townsend AR, Taylor P, Alvarez‐Clare S, Bustamante M, Chuyong G, et al. (2011) Relationships among net primary productivity, nutrients and climate in tropical rain forest: a pan‐tropical analysis. Ecol Lett 14: 939–947Google Scholar
- Craig R, Heath B, Raisbeck-Brown N, Steber M, Marsden J, Smith R (2002) The distribution, extent and seasonality of large fires in Australia, April 1998-March 2000, as mapped from NOAA-AVHRR imagery. In: Russell-Smith J, Craig R, Gill AM, Smith R, Williams J (eds) Australian Fire Regimes: Contemporary Patterns (April 1998–March 2000) and Changes Since European Settlement. Australia: State of the Environment Second Technical Paper Series (Biodiversity), Series 2, Department of the Environment and Heritage, Canberra. http://www.environment.gov.au/soe/2001/publications/technical/fire/pubs/part1.pdf. Accessed 20 April 2011
- DEWR, Department of the Environment and Water Resources (2007) Australia’s Native Vegetation: A summary of Australia’s Major Vegetation Groups. Australian Government, Canberra, ACT. http://www.environment.gov.au/erin/nvis/. Accessed 20 April 2011
- Florence RG (1996) Ecology and silviculture of eucalypt forests. CSIRO Publishing, MelbourneGoogle Scholar
- Henderson BL, Bui EN, Moran CJ, Simon DAP, Carlile P (2001) ASRIS: Continental-scale soil property predictions from point data. Technical Report 28/01. CSIRO Land and Water, CanberraGoogle Scholar
- Hopper SD, Keighery GJ, Wardell-Johnson G (1992) Flora of the karri forest and other communities in the Warren Subdistrict of Western Australia. Occasional Paper 2/92, Research on the Impact of Forest Management in South-west Western Australia. WA Department of Conservation and Land Management, PerthGoogle Scholar
- Houlder D, Hutchinson M, Nix H, McMahon J (2000) ANUCLIM, Version 5.1, User Guide. Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies. The Australian National University, CanberraGoogle Scholar
- Keith DA, Bedward M (1999) Native vegetation of the southeast forests region, Eden, New South Wales. Cunninghamia 6:1–60Google Scholar
- Knox KJE, Clarke PJ (2006) Response of resprouting shrubs to repeated fires in the dry sclerophyll forest of Gibraltar Range National Park. Proc Linnean Soc NSW 127:49–56Google Scholar
- McArthur WM (1991) Reference soils of south-western Australia. Department of Agriculture Western Australia, PerthGoogle Scholar
- O’Connell AM, Grove TS (1996) Biomass production, nutrient uptake and nutrient cycling in the jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata) and karri (Eucalyptus diversicolor) forests of south-western Australia. In: Attiwill PM, Adams MA (eds) Nutrition of eucalypts. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, pp 155–189Google Scholar
- Paul EA (ed) (2007) Soil microbiology, ecology, and biochemistry, 3rd edn. Academic, Amsterdam/BostonGoogle Scholar
- Peñuelas J, Sardans J, Rivas‐ubach A, Janssens IA (2012) The human‐induced imbalance between C, N and P in Earth’s life system. Glob Change Biol 18:3–6Google Scholar
- R Development Core Team (2005) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna. http://www.r-project.org/. Accessed 13 Jan 2010
- Rayment GE, Higginson FR (1992) Australian Laboratory Handbook of Soil and Water Chemical Methods. Inkata Press, MelbourneGoogle Scholar
- Redfield A (1958) The biological control of chemical factors in the environment. Am Sci 46:205–221Google Scholar
- Skjemstad JO, Spouncer LR, Beech A (2000) Carbon conversion factors for historical soil carbon data. National Carbon Accounting System, Technical Report 15. Australian Greenhouse Office, CanberraGoogle Scholar
- Snowdon P, Ryan P, Raison J (2005) Review of C:N ratios in vegetation, litter and soil under Australian native forests and plantations. National Carbon Accounting System Technical Report No. 45, Australian Government, Canberra. http://www.climatechange.gov.au/ncas/reports/tr45final.html. Accessed 20 Dec 2008
- Spain AV, Isbell RF, Probert ME (1983) Soil organic matter. In: Soils: an Australian viewpoint. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, pp 551–587Google Scholar
- Specht RL (1996) The influence of soils on the evolution of the eucalypts. In: Attiwill PM, Adams MA (eds) Nutrition of eucalypts. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, pp 31–60Google Scholar
- Swift MJ, Heal OW, Anderson JM (1979) Decomposition in terrestrial ecosystems. Blackwell Scientific Publications, OxfordGoogle Scholar