PeerJ. 2022 Sep 14;10:e14028. doi: 10.7717/peerj.14028. eCollection 2022.
Mycorrhizal fungi can form symbiotic associations with tree species, which not only play an important role in plant survival and growth, but also in soil carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) cycling. However, the understanding of differences in soil C and N cycling patterns among forests with different mycorrhizal types is still incomplete. In order to determine the similarities and differences of soil C and N cycling patterns in different mycorrhizal forest types, three primary forests dominated by ectomycorrhizal (EcM), arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) and ericoid mycorrhizal (ErM) trees respectively were studied on the eastern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Indicators associated with soil C and N cycling, including leaf litter quality, soil C and N contents, soil C and N fluxes, and soil microbial biomass C and N contents were measured in each mycorrhizal type forest. The results showed that leaf litter quality was significantly lower with high C:N ratio and lignin: N ratio in ErM forest than that in AM and EcM forests. Soil CO2 flux (508.25 ± 65.51 mg m-2 h-1) in AM forest was significantly higher than that in EcM forest (387.18 ± 56.19 mg m-2 h-1) and ErM forest (177.87 ± 58.40 mg m-2 h-1). Furthermore, soil inorganic N content was higher in the AM forest than that in EcM and ErM forests. Soil net N mineralization rate (-0.02 ± 0.03 mg kg-1 d-1) was lower in ErM forest than that in EcM and AM forests. We speculated that AM and EcM forests were relatively characterized by rapid soil C cycling comparing to ErM forest. The soil N cycling in EcM and ErM forests were lower, implying they were ‘organic’ N nutrition patterns, and the pattern in ErM forest was more obvious.