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Forests 2016, 7(10), 244; doi:10.3390/f7100244

Effect of 40 and 80 Years of Conifer Regrowth on Soil Microbial Activities and Community Structure in Subtropical Low Mountain Forests

1
Mackay Junior College of Medicine, Nursing and Management, Beitou, Taipei 112, Taiwan
2
Taiwan Forestry Research Institute, Taipei 10066, Taiwan
3
Environmental Monitoring and Research Division, Monitoring and Research Department, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, IL 60804, USA
4
Biodiversity Research Center, Academia Sinica, Nangang, Taipei 11529, Taiwan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Rodney J. Keenan and Timothy A. Martin
Received: 5 September 2016 / Revised: 17 October 2016 / Accepted: 18 October 2016 / Published: 21 October 2016
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Abstract

The effects of long-term reforestation on soil microbial communities and biomass are poorly understood. This study was conducted on two coniferous plantations: Cunninghamia konishii Hayata, planted 40 years ago (CONIF-40), and Calocedrus formosana (Florin) Florin, planted 80 years ago (CONIF-80). An adjacent natural broadleaf forest (BROAD-Nat) was used as a control. We determined microbial biomass C and N contents, enzyme activities, and community composition (via phospholipid fatty acid [PLFA] assessment). Both microbial biomass and PLFA content were higher in the summer than in the winter and differed among the forests in summer only. Total PLFA, total bacterial, gram-positive bacterial, gram-negative bacterial, and vesicular arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal contents followed the same pattern. Total fungal content and the ratios of fungi to bacteria and of gram-positive to gram-negative bacteria were highest in CONIF-40, with no difference between the other forests. Principal component analysis of PLFA contents revealed that CONIF-40 communities were distinct from those of CONIF-80 and BROAD-Nat. Our results suggest that vegetation replacement during reforestation exerts a prolonged impact on the soil microbial community. The understory broadleaf shrubs and trees established after coniferous plantation reforestation may balance out the effects of coniferous litter, contributing to bacterial recovery. View Full-Text
Keywords: PLFA; microbial community; soil enzymes; forest PLFA; microbial community; soil enzymes; forest
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    Description: Figure S1: Photographs of (a) natural broadleaf (BROAD-Nat), (b) 80-year-old coniferous (CONIF-80), and (c) 40-year-old coniferous (CONIF-40) forests at the study site.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Chang, E.-H.; Chen, T.-H.; Tian, G.-L.; Hsu, C.-K.; Chiu, C.-Y. Effect of 40 and 80 Years of Conifer Regrowth on Soil Microbial Activities and Community Structure in Subtropical Low Mountain Forests. Forests 2016, 7, 244.

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