Enhanced phosphorus cycling in soils of vegetated riparian buffer strips

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Sara L. Bauke , Ye Wang , Carina Popp, Jens Kruse, Sheila Saia, Federica Tamburni , Stefan P├Ątzold, Wulf Amelung, Christian von Sperber

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Vegetated riparian buffer strips (VBS) are a key management component in reducing the transfer of nutrients from agricultural land to adjacent fresh water bodies. This reduction in nutrient inputs along VBS has mostly been attributed to increased rates of biogeochemical cycling in soils. Numerous studies have shown that the transfer of nitrate (NO3 – ) from agricultural fields to streams is substantially decreased in riparian soils due to microbial denitrification which leads to the transformation of nitrate into gaseous N2O and N2. These findings led to the notion that VBS serve as ecosystem control points in the environmental nitrogen cycle. Compared to N, much less is known regarding the effect of VBS on the biogeochemical cycling of phosphorus (P) in soils of VBS. In this study we investigated the P retention and P cycling in soils along a grassland transect towards a first order stream. For this purpose, we combined Hedley sequential fractionation of P pools with the analysis of the oxygen isotope ratiosin phosphate (PO4 3- ). Our results do not show any significant changes in the size of soil P pools along the transect. However, oxygen isotope ratios in phosphate of the 1M HCl extract from topsoils and subsoils gradually increased towards the stream compared to more remote sites. This finding indicates enhanced biological cycling of P in soils of VBS and suggests that the biogeochemistry of putative recalcitrant soil P pools is much more dynamic in VBS than previously thought. This highlights the need to consider temporal and spatial changes of recalcitrant geochemical P pools in soils when assessing the effectiveness of VBS to retain P from agricultural fields.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

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