Converting natural evergreen broadleaf forests to intensively managed moso bamboo plantations affects the pool size and stability of soil organic carbon and enzyme activities
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Land-use change significantly affects the soil organic C (SOC) dynamics and microbial activities. However, the roles of chemical composition of SOC and enzyme activity in the change in the SOC mineralization rate caused by land-use change are poorly understood. This study aimed to investigate the impact of land-use conversion from natural evergreen broadleaf forests to intensively managed moso bamboo (Phyllostachys edulis) plantations on the pool size and mineralization rate of SOC, as well as the activities of C-cycling enzymes (invertase, β-glucosidase, and cellobiohydrolase) and dehydrogenase. Four paired soil samples in two layers (0–20 and 20–40 cm) were taken from adjacent evergreen broadleaf forest-moso bamboo plantation sites in Lin’an County, Zhejiang Province, China. Soil water-soluble organic C (WSOC), hot-water-soluble organic C (HWSOC), microbial biomass C (MBC), readily oxidizable C (ROC), the activities of C-cycling enzymes and dehydrogenase, and mineralization rates of SOC were measured. The chemical composition of SOC was also determined with 13C-nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. The conversion of broadleaf forests to bamboo plantations reduced SOC stock as well as WSOC, HWOC, MBC, and ROC concentrations (P < 0.05), decreased O-alkyl, aromatic, and carbonyl C contents, but increased alkyl C content and the alkyl C to O-alkyl (A/O-A) ratio, suggesting that the land-use conversion significantly altered the chemical structure of SOC. Further, such land-use change lowered (P < 0.05) the SOC mineralization rate and activities of the four enzymes in the 0–20-cm soil. The decreased SOC mineralization rate associated with the land-use conversion was closely linked to the decreased labile organic C concentration and soil enzyme activities. The results demonstrate that converting broadleaf forests to moso bamboo plantations markedly decreased the total and labile SOC stocks and reveal that this conversion decreased the mineralization rate of SOC via changing the chemical composition of SOC and decreasing activities of C-cycling enzymes. Management practices that enhance C input into the soil are recommended to mitigate the depletion of SOC associated with land-use conversion to moso bamboo plantations.
KeywordsLabile organic C Land-use change Mineralization rate 13C-nuclear magnetic resonance Soil carbon cycle
We thank Zhenming Shen for his assistance in the site selection for this experiment. We thank the two anonymous reviewers and Editor-in-Chief for their constructive comments that greatly improved the quality of a previous version of the manuscript.
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