, Volume 61, Issue 2, pp 429-437
Date: 29 Sep 2010

Change in Bacterial Community Structure in Response to Disturbance of Natural Hardwood and Secondary Coniferous Forest Soils in Central Taiwan

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Abstract

Forest management often results in changes in the soil and its microbial communities. In the present study, differences in the soil bacterial community caused by forest management practices were characterized using small subunit (SSU) ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene clone libraries. The communities were from a native hardwood forest (HWD) and two adjacent conifer plantations in a low-elevation montane, subtropical experimental forest at the Lienhuachi Experimental Forest (LHCEF) in central Taiwan. At this locality, the elevation ranges from 600 to 950 m, the mean annual precipitation is 2,200 mm, the mean annual temperature is 20.8°C, and the soil pH is 4. The conifer forests included a Cunninghamia konishii Hay (CNH) plantation of 40 years and an old growth Calocedrus formosana (Florin) Florin (CLC) forest of 80 years. A total of 476 clones were sequenced and assigned into 12 phylogenetic groups. Proteobacteria-affiliated clones (53%) predominated in the library from HWD soils. In contrast, Acidobacteria was the most abundant phylum and comprised 39% and 57% in the CLC and CNH libraries, respectively. Similarly, the most abundant OTUs in HWD soils were greatly reduced or absent in the CLC and CNH soils. Based on several diversity indices, the numbers of abundant OTUs and singletons, and rarefaction curves, the diversity of the HWD community (0.95 in evenness and Shannon diversity indices) was somewhat less than that in the CNH soils (0.97 in evenness and Shannon diversity indices). The diversity of the community in CLC soils was intermediate. The differences in diversity among the three communities may also reflect changes in abundances of a few OTUs. The CNH forest soil community may be still in a successional phase that is only partially stabilized after 40 years. Analysis of molecular variance also revealed that the bacterial community composition of HWD soils was significantly different from CLC and CNH soils (p = 0.001). These results suggest that the disturbance of forest conversion and tree species composition are important factors influencing the soil bacterial community among three forest ecosystems in the same climate.