Previous studies have shown that soil organic carbon (SOC) influences the provision of formative ecosystem services, making it a key indicator of soil health under sustainable land-use management and resilience to climate change. However, the processes of SOC isolation during tropical forest succession remain unclear, particularly after land abandonment from agricultural practices.
In a study published in Ecology Journalresearchers from Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) and the Kunming Institute of Botany of the Chinese Academy of Sciences investigated the effects of plant functional diversity, species diversity, genetic diversity, aboveground biomass, and environmental factors on SOC during forest succession after land abandonment. Swedish agriculture.
The researchers used data from two large-scale surveys of 320 plots (1,000 sq2 each) and 1,280 sub-blocks (100 m2 each) covering a total area of 20,000 hectares in Southeast Asia. They measured SOC stocks during forest succession to infer segregation via space-time replacement.
They found that the diversity of functional traits played a significant role in determining SOC sequestration across successive pathways. The composition of plant traits was directly related to plant-to-soil carbon inputs and outputs, reflecting the use of complementary resources within plant communities and their impact on biogeochemical cycles.
In addition, increases in SOC carbon storage were associated with positive indirect effects of species diversity and succession age through functional trait diversity, but phylogenetic diversity and above-ground biomass showed no significant relationship with SOC stocks.
Moreover, the effects of soil properties and diversity of functional traits on SOC carbon storage changed with altitude.
“Our study helps to elucidate the relationships between different components of plant biodiversity, environmental factors, and soil carbon stock in succession natural tropical forests, especially after land abandonment by swede cultivation,” said Gpadamasi Dosa, corresponding author of the study.
The researchers suggested that in the mosaic landscapes of the tropics, a trait-based approach should be considered in restoration and afforestation management practices.
Manichanh Satdichanh et al, Drivers of soil organic carbon stocks during tropical forest succession, Ecology Journal (2023). DOI: 10.1111 / 1365-2745.14141
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