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RESEARCH ARTICLE

Relationships of phosphorus fractions to organic carbon content in surface soils in mature subtropical forests, Dinghushan, China

Enqing Hou A B , Chengrong Chen B C , Dazhi Wen A C and Xian Liu B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Key Laboratory of Vegetation Restoration and Management of Degraded Ecosystems, South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510650, China.

B Environmental Futures Centre, Griffith School of Environment, Griffith University, Nathan, Qld 4111, Australia.

C Corresponding authors. Email: c.chen@griffith.edu.au (CC); dzwen@scbg.ac.cn (DW)

Soil Research 52(1) 55-63 https://doi.org/10.1071/SR13204
Submitted: 10 July 2013  Accepted: 28 September 2013   Published: 5 February 2014

Abstract

Exploring the relationship between the accumulation of soil organic carbon (C) and the form and availability of soil phosphorus (P) is important for improved understanding of soil P availability and its regulation of C storage in forest ecosystems. Here, we investigated the relationships among soil organic C, sequentially extracted P fractions and P sorption index in 32 surface soils (0–0.15 m depth) across eight mature subtropical forests (80–400 years) in Dinghushan, China. Results showed that soil organic P (Po) accounted for 40–63% (mean 54%) of soil total P. Soil organic C was significantly positively correlated with both the content and the percentage of soluble inorganic P (Pi), Al-Po and Fe-Po fractions and the content of the Al-Pi fraction. The content of soil total Po increased significantly with soil organic C, whereas the percentage of soil total Po tended to increase with soil organic C only when soil organic C was low (<30 Mg/ha) but was relatively stable when soil organic C was high (≥30 Mg/ha). Moreover, soil organic C was highly correlated with P sorption index. Our results suggest that accumulation of organic C may increase, rather than decrease, the availability of P in surface soil in mature subtropical forests.

Additional keywords: organic carbon, organic phosphorus, phosphorus sorption index, soil phosphorus fractionation, subtropical forest.


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