Nitrogen pollution is less harmful to mixed forests, study shows

By Zhang Nannan, Chinese Academy of Sciences
May 13, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: International

In a study published in the journal Plant and Soil, researchers from the Institute of Applied Ecology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have shown that mixed larch and deciduous forests are more resistant to soil acidification—a decrease in soil pH—than pure larch forests. This finding suggests that mixed forests, which contain a variety of tree species, may be a more effective forest management strategy to combat soil acidification. Human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels and the use of chemical fertilizers have led to high levels of nitrogen deposition, the transfer of nitrogen from the atmosphere to the Earth’s surface, in many regions of the world; this process may cause soil acidification and plant nutrient imbalances. …The results suggest that in the northeastern regions of China, establishing mixed forests may be a better forest management practice to prevent soil acidification under conditions of increased nitrogen deposition.

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