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Revegetation of the riparian zone of the Three Gorges Dam Reservoir leads to increased soil bacterial diversity

Abstract

As one of the most active components in soil, bacteria can affect soil physicochemical properties, its biological characteristics, and even its quality and health. We characterized dynamics of the soil bacterial diversity in planted (with Taxodium distichum) and unplanted soil in the riparian zone of the Three Gorges Dam Reservoir (TGDR), in southwestern China, in order to accurately quantify the changes in long-term soil bacterial community structure after revegetation. Measurements were taken annually in situ in the TGDR over the course of 5 years, from 2012 to 2016. Soil chemical properties and bacterial diversity were analyzed in both the planted and unplanted soil. After revegetation, the soil chemical properties in planted soil were significantly different than in unplanted soil. The effects of treatment, time, and the interaction of both time and treatment had significant impacts on most diversity indices. Specifically, the bacterial community diversity indices in planted soil were significantly higher and more stable than that in unplanted soil. The correlation analyses indicated that the diversity indices correlated with the pH value, organic matter, and soil available nutrients. After revegetation in the riparian zone of the TGDR, the soil quality and health is closely related to the observed bacterial diversity, and a higher bacterial diversity avails the maintenance of soil functionality. Thus, more reforestation should be carried out in the riparian zone of the TGDR, so as to effectively mitigate the negative ecological impacts of the dam. Vegetating the reservoir banks with Taxodium distichum proved successful, but planting mixed stands of native tree species could promote even higher riparian soil biodiversity and improved levels of ecosystem functioning within the TGDR.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Annastacia Stubbs for the language improvement on earlier drafts. The four anonymous reviewers and editor Dr. Robert Duran are greatly appreciated for their thoughtful and insightful comments that helped us improve our manuscript significantly. The authors would also like to thank Ms. Joanne Cabato for her kind assistance.

Funding

This research was financially supported by the Chongqing Municipality Key Forestry Research Project (Nos. Yulinkeyan 2016-8, 2015-6), International Sci-Tech Cooperation Project of Ministry of Science and Technology (No. 2015DFA90900) and Forestry Extension Project of China Central Finance (No. Yulinketui 2014-10).

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Correspondence to Changxiao Li.

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Ren, Q., Li, C., Yang, W. et al. Revegetation of the riparian zone of the Three Gorges Dam Reservoir leads to increased soil bacterial diversity. Environ Sci Pollut Res 25, 23748–23763 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-018-2333-3

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Keywords

  • Taxodium distichum
  • Revegetation
  • Bacterial diversity
  • T-RFLP
  • Hydro-fluctuation zone
  • The Three Gorges Reservoir Region