Skip to main content

Natural vegetation restoration of Liaodong oak (Quercus liaotungensis Koidz.) forests rapidly increased the content and ratio of inert carbon in soil macroaggregates

Abstract

The lack of clarity of how natural vegetation restoration influences soil organic carbon (SOC) content and SOC components in soil aggregate fractions limits the understanding of SOC sequestration and turnover in forest ecosystems. The aim of this study was to explore how natural vegetation restoration affects the SOC content and ratio of SOC components in soil macroaggregates (>250 μm), microaggregates (53–250 μm) and silt and clay (<53 μm) fractions in 30-, 60-, 90- and 120-year-old Liaodong oak (Quercus liaotungensis Koidz.) forests, Shaanxi, China in 2015. And the associated effects of biomasses of leaf litter and different sizes of roots (0–0.5, 0.5–1.0, 1.0–2.0 and >2.0 mm diameter) on SOC components were studied too. Results showed that the contents of high activated carbon (HAC), activated carbon (AC) and inert carbon (IC) in the macroaggregates, microaggregates and silt and clay fractions increased with restoration ages. Moreover, IC content in the microaggregates in topsoil (0–20 cm) rapidly increased; peaking in the 90-year-old restored forest and was 5.74 times higher than AC content. In deep soil (20–80 cm), IC content was 3.58 times that of AC content. Biomasses of 0.5–1.0 mm diameter roots and leaf litter affected the content of aggregate fractions in topsoil, while the biomass of >2.0 mm diameter roots affected the content of aggregate fractions in deep soil. Across the soil profile, macroaggregates had the highest capacity for HAC sequestration. The effects of restoration ages on soil aggregate fractions and SOC content were less in deep soil than in topsoil. In conclusion, natural vegetation restoration of Liaodong oak forests improved the contents of SOC, especially IC within topsoil and deep soil. The influence of IC on aggregate stability was greater than the other SOC components, and the aggregate stability was significantly affected by the biomasses of litter and 0.5–1.0 mm diameter roots in topsoil and >2.0 mm diameter roots in deep soil. Natural vegetation restoration of Liaodong oak forests promoted SOC sequestration by soil macroaggregates.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  • Alcantara V, Don A, Vesterdal L, et al. 2017. Stability of buried carbon in deep-ploughed forest and cropland soils-implications for carbon stocks. Scientific Reports, 7(1): 5511.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • An S, Darboux F, Cheng M. 2013. Revegetation as an efficient means of increasing soil aggregate stability on the Loess Plateau (China). Geoderma, 209: 75–85.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Barthes B G, Kouakoua E, Larre-Larrouy M, et al. 2008. Texture and sesquioxide effects on water-stable aggregates and organic matter in some tropical soils. Geoderma, 143(1–2): 14–25.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Callesen I, Harrison R, Stupak I, et al. 2016. Carbon storage and nutrient mobilization from soil minerals by deep roots and rhizospheres. Forest Ecology and Management, 359: 322–331.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cambardella C A, Elliott E T. 1993. Carbon and nitrogen distribution in aggregates from cultivated and native grassland soils. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 57(4): 1071–1076.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chan K Y, Bowman A, Oates A. 2001. Oxidizable organic carbon fractions and soil quality changes in an Oxic paleustalf under different pasture leys. Soil Science, 166(1): 61–67.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cheng M, Xiang Y, Xue Z, et al. 2015. Soil aggregation and intra-aggregate carbon fractions in relation to vegetation succession on the Loess Plateau, China. Catena, 124: 77–84.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Elliott E T. 1986. Aggregate structure and carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus in native and cultivated soils. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 50(3): 627–633.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Freschet G T, Roumet C. 2017. Sampling roots to capture plant and soil functions. Functional Ecology, 31(8): 1506–1518.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • He N, Wen D, Zhu J, et al. 2017. Vegetation carbon sequestration in Chinese forests from 2010 to 2050. Global Change Biology, 23(4): 1575–1584.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kelly C N, Benjamin J, Calderon F C, et al. 2017. Incorporation of biochar carbon into stable soil aggregates: the role of clay mineralogy and other soil characteristics. Pedosphere, 27(4): 694–704.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Li L, Wang D, Liu X, et al. 2014. Soil organic carbon fractions and microbial community and functions under changes in vegetation: a case of vegetation succession in karst forest. Environmental Earth Sciences, 71(8): 3727–3735.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Liao H, Long J, Li J. 2016. Conversion of cropland to Chinese prickly ash orchard affects soil organic carbon dynamics in a karst region of southwest China. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems, 104(1): 15–23.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lin G, Zeng D. 2017. Heterogeneity in decomposition rates and annual litter inputs within fine-root architecture of tree species: Implications for forest soil carbon accumulation. Forest Ecology and Management, 389: 386–394.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sanaullah M, Chabbi A, Leifeld J, et al. 2011. Decomposition and stabilization of root litter in top- and subsoil horizons: what is the different? Plant and Soil, 338(1–2): 127–141.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Six J, Elliott E T, Paustian K. 1999. Aggregate and soil organic matter dynamics under conventional and no-tillage systems. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 63(5): 1350–1358.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Spaccini R, Zena A, Igwe C A, et al. 2001. Carbohydrates in water-stable aggregates and particle size fractions of forested and cultivated soils in two contrasting tropical ecosystems. Biogeochemistry, 53(1): 1–22.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tisdall J M. 1994. Possible role of soil microorganisms in aggregation in soils. Plant and Soil, 159(1): 115–121.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wang F, Zhu W, Chen H. 2016. Changes of soil C stocks and stability after 70-year afforestation in the Northeast USA. Plant and Soil, 401(1–2): 319–329.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wang G, Xue S, Liu F, et al. 2007. Nitrogen addition increases the production and turnover of the lower-order roots but not of the higher-order roots of Bothriochloa ischaemum. Plant and Soil, 415(1–2): 423–434.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wei X, Li X, Jia X, Shao M. 2013. Accumulation of soil organic carbon in aggregates after afforestation on abandoned farmland. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 49(6): 637–646.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wu G, Liu Y, Yang Z, et al. 2017. Root channels to indicate the increase in soil matrix water infiltration capacity of arid reclaimed mine soils. Journal of Hydrology, 546: 133–139.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Xiang H, Zhang L, Wen D. 2015. Change of soil carbon fractions and water-stable aggregates in a forest ecosystem succession in south china. Forests, 6(8): 2703–2718.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Yao X, Jing H, Liang C T. 2017. Response of labile organic carbon content in surface soil aggregates to short-term nitrogen addition in artificial Pinus tabulaeformis forests. Acta Ecologica Sinica, 37(20): 1–8. (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  • Yuan Z Y, Chen H Y H. 2010. Fine root biomass, production, turnover rates, and nutrient contents in boreal forest ecosystems in relation to species, climate, fertility, and stand age: literature review and meta-analyses. Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences, 29(4): 204–221.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zelenev V V, van Bruggen A, Semenov A M. 2000. “BACWAVE,” a spatial-temporal model for traveling waves of bacterial populations in response to a moving carbon source in soil. Microbial Ecology, 40(3): 260–272.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zhang H, Liu Z, Chen H, et al. 2016. Symbiosis of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and Pobinia pseudoacacia L. improves root tensile strength and soil aggregate stability. PloS ONE, 11(4): e01533784.

    Google Scholar 

  • Zhang X, Han S J, Wang S Q, et al. 2016. Change of soil organic carbon fractions at different successional stages of Betula platyphylla forest in Changbai Mountains. Chinese Journal of Ecology, 35(2): 282–289.

    Google Scholar 

  • Zhou H, Peng X, Peth S, et al. 2012. Effects of vegetation restoration on soil aggregate microstructure quantified with synchrotron-based micro-computed tomography. Soil and Tillage Research, 124: 17–23.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zhu B B, Li P, Li Z B, et al. 2008. Dynamics of water stable aggregate in land degradation/ restoration process of Ziwuling forest farm. Journal of Northwest Sci-Tech University of Agriculture and Forestry: Natural Science Edition, 36(3): 124–128. (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

This research was funded by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2017YFC0504601), the Science and Technology Service Network Initiative of Chinese Academy of Sciences (KFJ-STS-ZDTP-036), and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41671513).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Guobin Liu.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Sun, L., He, L., Wang, G. et al. Natural vegetation restoration of Liaodong oak (Quercus liaotungensis Koidz.) forests rapidly increased the content and ratio of inert carbon in soil macroaggregates. J. Arid Land 11, 928–938 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40333-019-0004-y

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40333-019-0004-y

Keywords

  • carbon
  • aggregate
  • Quercus liaotungensis
  • natural vegetation restoration
  • leaf litter
  • Shaanxi