In order to understand the effect of submergence on nutrient release of the reforested tree leaves and assess the environmental risk of leaf decomposition under submergence, the mass loss and nutrient release rates of three reforestation tree species, Taxodium ascendens Brongn, Taxodium distichum (L.) Rich., and Salix matsudana Koidz., at different elevation in the hydro-fluctuation zone of the Three Gorges Dam Reservoir (TGDR) region were tested in situ. Results showed that the initial macroelement contents of the leaves of the three tree species varied among different elevations due to different submergence stresses. All foliar mass loss rates of the three tree species at 165 m a.s.l. were significantly higher than that at 175 m a.s.l. (except that of S. matsudana at 165 m a.s.l.), after 179 days of incubation commenced September 20. After 138 days of incubation commenced October 5, the foliar mass loss rates of the three tree species at 170 m a.s.l. were significantly higher than that at 175 m a.s.l. Moreover, the leaf mass loss rates of S. matsudana were higher than the other two species when compared at the same elevation of the same incubation period. In addition, foliar release rates of N and Ca in T. ascendens, C, N, and Ca in T. distichum as well as Ca in S. matsudana at 165 m a.s.l. after 179 days of incubation and at 170 m a.s.l. after 138 days of incubation were significantly higher than that at 175 m a.s.l., respectively. Leaf mass loss rates of T. ascendens were significantly correlated with its initial leaf K, Ca, and Mg contents. In contrast, leaf mass loss rates of T. distichum had significant correlations with the initial leaf P and K contents, as well as C/P and N/P ratios. However, the mass loss rates of S. matsudana significantly correlated with initial leaf N, P, and Ca contents and C/N, C/P, and N/P ratios. Foliar nutrient release rates, especially the foliar release of C, N, and P of the three tree species, had significant correlations with initial leaf C/P and N/P ratios. Our results suggested that submergence facilitated the decomposition and nutrient release rates of the leaves of the three woody species, especially the broad leaves of S. matsudana, which may potentially cause secondary pollution to the water body of the TGDR. Thus, we suggested that a sustainable harvest of leaves of the reforested forest stands prior to submergence should be considered in the hydro-fluctuation zone so as to protect the water quality of the TGDR.
Environmental Science and Pollution Research – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 4, 2018
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