Plant Ecology

, Volume 132, Issue 2, pp 229–241 | Cite as

Relations of soil properties to topography and vegetation in a subtropical rain forest in southern Taiwan

  • Zueng-Sang Chen
  • Chang-Fu Hsieh
  • Feei-Yu Jiang
  • Tsung-Hsin Hsieh
  • I-Fang Sun


Soil chemical properties for a subtropical rain forest in the Nanjenshan Reserve, southern Taiwan, were examined to determine soil-landscape and soil-vegetation relationships. Soil sampling sites were separated into four groups based on landscape features and exposure to the prevailing northeasterly monsoon winds. Corresponding vegetation types were delimited along the first DCA axis. The forest showed a drastic change both in structure and floristic composition along the wind-stress gradient. Redundancy analysis (RDA) showed that both topographic variables and vegetation types were needed to explain the variation in soil data. Soil properties that differed significantly among landforms were pH, available N, CEC, exchangeable Al, K, Ca and Mg. Levels of pH, exchangeable Ca and Mg increased in a downslope direction, and exchangeable Al tended to be higher in the upper slope soils. These trends pointed to the importance of slope processes in redistribution of soil minerals. The main differences in soil properties attributed to the influence of the occupying vegetation were apparently aspect dependent. The contents of available N, exchangeable K, and CEC in the 0–40 cm depth of soils under windward low-stature (mostly sclerophyllous) forest were consistently lower compared to those under the leeward forest. For a given catena, however, soil variability associated with vegetation differences seemed to be confounded by the slope processes.

CCA Exposure Forest stature Monsoon wind Nanjenshan Nutrient RDA Vegetation classification 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zueng-Sang Chen
    • 1
  • Chang-Fu Hsieh
    • 2
  • Feei-Yu Jiang
    • 1
  • Tsung-Hsin Hsieh
    • 2
  • I-Fang Sun
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Agricultural ChemistryNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of BotanyNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan
  3. 3.Department of BiologyTunghai UniversityTaichungTaiwan

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