Conversion of monoculture cropland and open grassland to agroforestry alters the abundance of soil bacteria, fungi and soil-N-cycling genes
Beule, Lukas ; Corre, Marife D. ; Schmidt, Marcus ; Göbel, Leonie ; Veldkamp, Edzo ; Karlovsky, Petr
Citable Link (URL):http://resolver.sub.uni-goettingen.de/purl?gs-1/16207
Integration of trees in agroforestry systems can increase the system sustainability compared to monocultures. The resulting increase in system complexity is likely to affect soil-N cycling by altering soil microbial community structure and functions. Our study aimed to assess the abundance of genes encoding enzymes involved in soil-N cycling in paired monoculture and agroforestry cropland in a Phaeozem soil, and paired open grassland and agroforestry grassland in Histosol and Anthrosol soils. The soil fungi-to-bacteria ratio was greater in the tree row than in the crop or grass rows of the monoculture cropland and open grassland in all soil types, possibly due to increased input of tree residues and the absence of tillage in the Phaeozem (cropland) soil. In the Phaeozem (cropland) soil, gene abundances of amoA indicated a niche differentiation between archaeal and bacterial ammonia oxidizers that distinctly separated the influence of the tree row from the crop row and monoculture system. Abundances of nitrate (napA and narG), nitrite (nirK and nirS) and nitrous oxide reductase genes (nosZ clade I) were largely influenced by soil type rather than management system. The soil types' effects were associated with their differences in soil organic C, total N and pH. Our findings show that in temperate regions, conversion of monoculture cropland and open grassland to agroforestry systems can alter the abundance of soil bacteria and fungi and soil-N-cycling genes, particularly genes involved in ammonium oxidation.