Soil properties and microbial communities are the main contributors to aboveground vegetative biomass in reseeded grassland after long-term growth

  • Fengge Zhang
  • Xixi Xu
  • Zongzhuan Shen
  • Yan XiaoEmail author
Soils, Sec 3 • Remediation and Management of Contaminated or Degraded Lands • Research Article



The overall production of degraded grassland ecosystems can be improved by reseeding appropriate species, but the responses of soil microbes to reseeded grassland after a long-term growth, especially the mediation effects of soil chemical compounds on the soil microbial community composition, have rarely been reported.

Materials and methods

In this study, we reseeded a degraded grassland with Bromus inermis Leyss and investigated the changes in aboveground (grassland biomass) and belowground factors (soil properties, soil chemical compounds, soil microbial diversity, and community) under reseeded and non-reseeded treatments.

Results and discussion

The reseeding of B. inermis significantly (P < 0.05) enchacecd the aboveground vegetative biomass by 22.72% as compared with the plots that were not reseeded. Significant (P < 0.05) differences were also observed in the soil chemical compounds and microbial diversity and community between the reseeded and non-reseeded treatments. Soil bacterial (R2 = 0.6271, P = 0.0007) and fungal α-diversity (R2 = 0.5895, P = 0.0013) were both positively correlated with grassland biomass. Moreover, the community compositons of soil bacterial (R = 0.465, P = 0.002) and fungal (R = 0.720, P = 0.001) also had significant correlations with grassland biomass. Actinoplanes, Streptomyces, Bacillus, and Mesorhizobium were identified as potential agents for promoting grassland growth. Network analysis showed that the assemblages of soil microbes in the reseeding treatment formed larger and more complex networks than those in the non-reseeding treatment.


Our study, cutting in terms of soil microbial ecology, provides a valuable model for explaining the aboveground responses to the establishment of perennial grass species in degraded grasslands.


Bromus inermis Leyss MiSeq sequencing Soil chemical compounds Soil bacterial and fungal community Soil properties 



We thank G. W. Yang for his assistance in plant and soil sampling.

Funding information

This work was financially supported by the earmarked fund for the China Agriculture Research System (CARS-34) and the Nanjing Agricultural University Foundation (Y0201600442).

Supplementary material

11368_2019_2433_MOESM1_ESM.docx (140 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 139 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fengge Zhang
    • 1
  • Xixi Xu
    • 1
  • Zongzhuan Shen
    • 2
  • Yan Xiao
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.College of Agro-grassland ScienceNanjing Agricultural UniversityNanjingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Jiangsu Provincial Key Lab of Organic Solid Waste Utilization, Jiangsu Collaborative Innovation Center for Solid Organic Waste Resource Utilization, National Engineering Research Center for Organic-based Fertilizer, College of Resources and Environmental SciencesNanjing Agricultural UniversityNanjingPeople’s Republic of China

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