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Vegetation and soil properties in restored wetlands near Lake Taihu, China

  • Eutrophication in Lakes
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Riparian wetlands are important components of the lake ecosystem, and they play essential roles in maintaining system health. Remediation of degraded lakeshore wetlands is an essential component of lake restoration. A study was conducted to investigate the restoration of lakeshore wetlands, which were converted to rice fields and then abandoned for 2, 5, 10 and 15 years, near Lake Taihu. Soil samples (0–20 cm and 20–40 cm) were taken and plant species were investigated. The carbon content in the soil had increased significantly, rising from 0.71% to 1.85% between 2 and 15 years. Organic matter accumulation improved soil texture, and water stable aggregate content (>0.25 mm) and soil porosity increased. Total nitrogen in the soil increased from 0.06% to 0.13%, and total Kjeldahl nitrogen increased from 124.4 mg kg−1 to 351.5 mg kg−1. Total phosphorus in the soil increased from 0.045% to 0.071%, and the Olsen-P value increased from 5.13 mg kg−1 to 16.0 mg kg−1. Results showed that phosphorous did not increase as much as nitrogen. In the vegetation restoration process, plant species composition moved towards a natural wetland community, and spatial heterogeneity and landscape diversity increased. The richness of plant biodiversity increased rapidly in the first 2 years, then more slowly in later restoration stages. The wetlands recovery process may be complicated by interactions of biota and soil and hydrological conditions.

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This research was supported by Chinese Academy of Sciences (No. KZCX1-SW-12) and the National Hi-Tech Research Program (No. 2002AA601011-05). We gratefully thank Yaohui Hu, Zexiang Lei, Nian’gen Du and Hongmei Hao for their assistance with sampling and analysis.

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Correspondence to Chengqing Yin.

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Lu, J., Wang, H., Wang, W. et al. Vegetation and soil properties in restored wetlands near Lake Taihu, China. Hydrobiologia 581, 151–159 (2007).

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