Responses of soil C, N, P and enzyme activities to biological soil crusts in China: A meta-analysis

Yang Z., Yuan Y., Guo J., Li J., Li J., Yu H., Zeng W., Huang Y., Yin L. & Li F.
13(11): 1525 [22 p.]
Biological soil crusts (BSCs) are often referred to as the “living skin” of arid regions worldwide. Yet, the combined impact of BSCs on soil carbon (C), nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and enzyme activities remains not fully understood. This study identified, screened and reviewed 71 out of 2856 literature sources to assess the responses of soil C, N, P and enzyme activity to BSCs through a meta-analysis. The results indicated that BSC presence significantly increased soil C, N, P and soil enzyme activity, and this increasing effect was significantly influenced by the types of BSCs. Results from the overall effect showed that soil organic carbon (SOC), total nitrogen (TN), available nitrogen (AN), total phosphorus (TP), and available phosphorus (AP) increased by 107.88%, 84.52%, 45.43%, 27.46%, and 54.71%, respectively, and four soil enzyme activities (Alkaline Phosphatase, Cellulase, Sucrase, and Urease) increased by 93.65–229.27%. The highest increases in SOC, TN and AN content occurred in the soil covered with lichen crusts and moss crusts, and significant increases in Alkaline Phosphatase and Cellulase were observed in the soil covered with moss crusts and mixed crusts, suggesting that moss crusts can synergistically enhance soil C and N pool and enzyme activity. Additionally, variations in soil C, N, P content, and enzyme activity were observed under different environmental settings, with more pronounced improvements seen in coarse and medium-textured soils compared to fine-textured soils, particularly at a depth of 5 cm from the soil surface. BSCs in desert ecosystems showed more significant increases in SOC, TN, AN, and Alkaline Phosphatase compared to forest and grassland ecosystems. Specifically, BSCs at low altitude (≤500 m) with an annual average rainfall of 0–400 mm and an annual average temperature ≤ 10 °C were the most conducive to improving soil C, N, and P levels. Our results highlight the role of BSCs and their type in increasing soil C, N, P and enzyme activities, with these effects significantly impacted by soil texture, ecosystem type, and climatic conditions. The implications of these findings are crucial for soil enhancement, ecosystem revitalization, windbreak, and sand stabilization efforts in the drylands of China. Keywords: BSCs; soil nutrients; enzyme activity; meta-analysis; influence factor.
Saturday, 01 June 2024 15:29