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Journal of Forestry Research

, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 973–982 | Cite as

Effects of soil fauna on leaf litter decomposition under different land uses in eastern coast of China

  • Baoling Yang
  • Wenwen Zhang
  • Hanmei Xu
  • Shaojun Wang
  • Xia Xu
  • Huan Fan
  • Han Y. H. Chen
  • Honghua Ruan
Original Paper

Abstract

Soil fauna decompose litter, whereas land use changes may significantly alter the composition and structure of soil fauna assemblages. However, little is known of the effects of land-use on the contribution of soil fauna to litter decomposition. We studied the impacts of soil fauna on the decomposition of litter from poplar trees under three different land uses (i.e. poplar-crop integrated system, poplar plantation, and cropland), from December 2013 to December 2014, in a coastal area of Northern Jiangsu Province. We collected litter samples in litterbags with three mesh sizes (5, 1 and 0. 01 mm, respectively) to quantify the contribution of various soil fauna to the decomposition of poplar leaf litter. Litter decomposition rates differed significantly by land use and were highest in the cropland, intermediate in the poplar-crop integrated system, and lowest in the poplar plantation. Soil fauna in the poplar-crop integrated system was characterized by the highest numbers of taxa and individuals, and highest Margalef’s diversity, which suggested that agro-forestry ecosystems may support a greater quantity, distribution, and biodiversity of soil fauna than can single-species agriculture or plantation forestry. The individuals and groups of soil fauna in the macro-mesh litterbags were higher than in the meso-mesh litterbags under the same land use types. The average contribution rate of meso- and micro-fauna to litter decomposition was 18.46%, which was higher than the contribution rate of macro-fauna (3.31%). The percentage of remaining litter mass was inversely related to the density of the soil fauna (P < 0.05) in poplar plantations; however, was unrelated in the poplar-crop integrated system and cropland. This may have been the result of anthropogenic interference in poplar-crop integrated systems and croplands. Our study suggested that when land-use change alters vegetation types, it can affect species composition and the structure of soil fauna assemblages, which, in turn, affects litter decomposition.

Keywords

Mesh sizes Poplar Leaf litter Soil fauna Litter decomposition 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank Guobing Wang, Yueqin Chen, Yuanyuan Li and Danyan Zhou for their assistance. Special thanks go to the Dongtai Forest Farm for its support in the field trials.

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Copyright information

© Northeast Forestry University and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Baoling Yang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wenwen Zhang
    • 1
    • 3
  • Hanmei Xu
    • 1
  • Shaojun Wang
    • 4
  • Xia Xu
    • 1
  • Huan Fan
    • 1
  • Han Y. H. Chen
    • 5
  • Honghua Ruan
    • 1
  1. 1.Co-Innovation Center for Sustainable Forestry in Southern China, College of Biology and the EnvironmentNanjing Forestry UniversityNanjingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.School of Jiangsu Vocational College of Agriculture and ForestryJurongPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Shanghai Forestry StationShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.College of Environment Science and EngineeringSouthwest Forestry UniversityKunmingPeople’s Republic of China
  5. 5.Faculty of Natural Resources ManagementLakehead UniversityThunder BayCanada

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