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Influence of ginseng cultivation under larch plantations on plant diversity and soil properties in Liaoning Province, Northeast China

Abstract

Currently, transforming the mode of forest management and developing multiple forest management practices are actively encouraged in China. As one forest management type, ginseng cultivation under larch plantations has been developed significantly in the east of Liaoning Province. However, research on the influence of the ecological environment for this mode of production is still deficient. Based on this, our study compares the plant diversity and soil properties in the ginseng cultivation under larch plantations (LG) with larch plantations (LP) and natural secondary forests (SF). First, we randomly selected three plots for each of the three stand types which have similar stand characteristics; then, we carried out a plant diversity survey and soil sampling in each of the nine plots. The results show that no significant difference was found in plant diversity between LG and LP, but the evenness of herbs was significantly lower in LG than LP. No obvious changes in soil physical properties were found in LG, but a significant decrease in most of the soil nutrient content was presented in LG. Furthermore, we found a correlation between plant diversity (H') and soil properties in the three kinds of stand types, especially between herbaceous plant diversity and soil properties. We conclude that ginseng cultivation under larch plantations has no obvious effect on plant diversity, except the herbaceous evenness. Soil fertility can be depleted significantly in LG, but physical structures are not affected. Moreover, maintaining the diversity of herbaceous plants and controlling the density of ginseng cultivation in LG by farmers are important for the ecological environment. Based on this study and its good comprehensive benefits and with the support of policy, we think this forest management type should be promoted moderately in the region.

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Correspondence to Mou-cheng Liu.

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http://orcid.org/0000-0001-5670-606X

http://orcid.org/0000-0002-4444-3482

http://orcid.org/0000-0001-9614-4890

http://orcid.org/0000-0002-1641-0560

http://orcid.org/0000-0002-2489-1050

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Liu, Ww., Liu, Mc., Li, Wh. et al. Influence of ginseng cultivation under larch plantations on plant diversity and soil properties in Liaoning Province, Northeast China. J. Mt. Sci. 13, 1598–1608 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11629-015-3753-x

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Keywords

  • Forest management
  • Ginseng cultivation
  • Larch plantations
  • Secondary forests
  • Plant diversity
  • Soil properties
  • Changbai Mountain