Plant and Soil

, Volume 423, Issue 1–2, pp 327–338 | Cite as

Response of soil microbial community dynamics to Robinia pseudoacacia L. afforestation in the loess plateau: a chronosequence approach

  • Jinliang Liu
  • Zhonglan Yang
  • Peng Dang
  • Hailan Zhu
  • Yang Gao
  • Vu Ngoc Ha
  • Zhong ZhaoEmail author
Regular Article



The objective was to analyze soil microbial community dynamics and their responses to changes in vegetation and soil properties after Robinia pseudoacacia afforestation along a chronosequence.


We investigated changes in vegetation communities, soil properties and soil microbial communities 5, 15, 25, and 35 years (Y) after R. pseudoacacia afforestation on cropland on the Loess Plateau. Soil microbial community compositions were analyzed using 16S rRNA and ITS high-throughput gene sequencing.


The diversity and richness of understory vegetation community decreased with restoration stage, and available phosphorus and ammonium contents in soil were consistently low. The bacterial communities converted from Acidobacteria- to Proteobacteria-dominant communities within 25-Y but transitioned again to Acidobacteria-dominant communities at the 35-Y sites. Ascomycota and Zygomycota were the dominant fungal phyla at all sites. Compared to the cropland, fungal community composition changed at the 5-Y sites and the bacterial community composition changed at the 25-Y sites.


R. pseudoacacia afforestation significantly altered soil bacteria richness rather than its diversity. The planted R. pseudoacacia rapidly altered the soil fungal community composition and altered bacterial community composition at the 25-Y. The changes in soil bacterial communities were driven by the phyla of Actinobacteria, Gemmatimonadetes and Nitrospirae and lagged behind the changes in vegetation communities. Phosphorus was a principal factor in shaping microbial community composition.


Afforestation Loess plateau Robinia pseudoacacia Soil microbial community 16S rRNA and ITS high-throughput gene sequencing 



This work was financially supported by the Research Special Topic under the auspices of the Forestry Science and Technology Support Plan, Researches and Demonstration of the Key Technology for Plantation Sustainable Management in the Loess Plateau (Grant No. 2012BAD22B0302).

Supplementary material

11104_2017_3516_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (10 kb)
Supplementary S1 (XLSX 10 kb)
11104_2017_3516_MOESM2_ESM.xls (52 kb)
Supplementary S2 (XLS 52 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of ForestryNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Key Comprehensive Laboratory of ForestryYanglingPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Silviculture on the Loess Plateau State Forestry AdministrationYanglingPeople’s Republic of China

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