Impacts of heavy metal contamination on soil nitrogen in various ecosystems amidst karst desertification in south China
This study investigates the impacts of heavy metal contamination on nitrogen dynamics in soils across various ecosystems within the Karst desertification-affected regions of South China. Heavy metal pollution is a growing concern in these areas due to mining and industrial activities, and it poses significant threats to soil health and ecosystem sustainability. Through field and laboratory analyses, we assessed nitrogen availability, transformations, and microbial communities in soils from forests, grasslands, and croplands subjected to heavy metal contamination. Our findings reveal that heavy metals detrimentally affect nitrogen availability, disrupt nitrogen transformation processes, and alter soil microbial communities. These effects varied among ecosystems, with forest soils exhibiting greater resilience. This research underscores the urgent need for soil remediation and sustainable land management practices in Karst desertification regions to protect the health and functionality of these ecosystems.