Poplar plantations have the capacity to improve the properties of soils in muddy coastal areas; however, our understanding of the impacts of plantation development on soil arthropods remains limited. For this study, we determined the community dynamics of soil dwelling arthropods across poplar [...] Read more.
Poplar plantations have the capacity to improve the properties of soils in muddy coastal areas; however, our understanding of the impacts of plantation development on soil arthropods remains limited. For this study, we determined the community dynamics of soil dwelling arthropods across poplar plantations of different ages (5-, 10-, and 21-years) over the course of one year in Eastern Coastal China. The total abundance of soil arthropods differed with stand development. Further, there were some interactions that involved the sampling date. On average, total abundance was highest in the 10-year-old stands and lowest in the 5-year-old stands. Total abundance exhibited strong age-dependent trends in June and September, but not in March or December. The abundance of Prostigmata and Oribatida increased in the 5- to 21-year-old stands, with the highest levels being in the 10-year-old stands. The abundance of Collembola increased with stand development; however, the stand age had no significant impact on the abundance of epedapic, hemiedaphic, and euedaphic Collembola. Order richness (Hill number q
= 0) curve confidence intervals overlapped among three stand ages. Shannon and Simpson diversity (Hill numbers q
= 1 and q
= 2) differed between 10- and 21-year-old stand age. They showed almost similar trends, and the highest and lowest values were recorded in the 21- and 10-year-old stand ages, respectively. Permutational multivariate analysis of variance demonstrated that composition also varied significantly with the sampling date and stand age, and the 10-year-old stands that were sampled in June stood well-separated from the others. Indicator analysis revealed that Scolopendromorpha and Prostigmata were indicators in June for the 10-year-old stands, while Collembola were indicators for the 21-year-old stands sampled in September. Our results highlight that both stand development and climate seasonality can significantly impact soil arthropod community dynamics in the reclaimed coastal saline soils of managed poplar plantations.