The legacy effects of previous land use and climate history may affect current soil function. However, the manner in which these legacy effects of land use are modulated by the subsequent climate remains unclear. For this reason, we investigated how the legacies of soil multiple functions left by conversion of grassland to agricultural management were mediated by climate warming with a reciprocal transplant approach. The overall legacy was further separated into the contributions by changes in the abiotic properties of the soil (abiotic process) and microbial community (biotic process). We here hypothesized that warming may mediate the legacy effects of previous land use, mainly by changing biotic processes. Results indicated that warming significantly influenced the total legacies of soil respiration and three exoenzyme activities representing recalcitrant carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus cycling, but did not affect the total legacy of β-1,4-glucosidase activity, which is involved in labile carbon cycling. The relative contributions of abiotic and biotic processes to the warming effects on the total legacy depended on the type of soil function. The effects of warming on land use change legacies were derived from altered bacterial community structure. The results of the present study suggest that climate conditions could interact with land use legacy to determine the ecosystem functions in a process-specific way.
Dong, W., Song, A., Liu, X. et al. Warming deferentially altered multidimensional soil legacy induced by past land use history. Sci Rep 8, 1546 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-19912-y