To clarify the effects of long-term warming on ecosystem matter cycling, we conducted an in situ 7-year experimental warming (2009–2015) using infrared heaters in a cool temperate semi-natural grassland in Japan. We measured plant aboveground biomass, soil total C and N, soil inorganic N (NH4 +-N and NO3 −-N), and soil microbial biomass for 7 years (2009–2015). We also measured heterotrophic respiration for 2 years (2013–2014) and assessed net N mineralization and nitrification in 2015. We found that warming immediately increased plant aboveground biomass, but this effect ceased in 2013. However, the soil microbial biomass was continuously depressed by warming. Soil inorganic N concentrations in warmed plots substantially increased in the later years of the experiment (2013–2015) and the potential net N mineralization rate was also higher than in the earlier years. In contrast, heterotrophic respiration decreased with warming in 2013–2014. Our observations indicate that long-term warming has a contrasting effect on plants and soil microbes. In addition, the warming could have different effects on subterranean C and N cycling. To enhance the accuracy of estimation of future climate change, it is essential to continuously observe the warming effects on ecosystems and to focus on the change in subterranean C and N cycling.
- Heterotrophic respiration
- Long-term experimental warming
- Net N mineralization
- Semi-natural grassland
- Soil microbial biomass
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics