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Open AccessArticle

Stocks and Stoichiometry of Soil Organic Carbon, Total Nitrogen, and Total Phosphorus after Vegetation Restoration in the Loess Hilly Region, China

by Hongwei Xu 1,3, Qing Qu 2, Peng Li 2, Ziqi Guo 2, Entemake Wulan 2 and Sha Xue 1,2,3,*
1
State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on Loess Plateau, Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Water Resources, Yangling 712100, China
2
Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 712100, China
3
Institute of College of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2019, 10(1), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10010027
Received: 17 November 2018 / Revised: 21 December 2018 / Accepted: 27 December 2018 / Published: 3 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrient Cycling in Forest Ecosystems)
The Loess Plateau is an important region for vegetation restoration in China; however, changes in soil organic carbon (SOC), soil nutrients, and stoichiometry after restoration in this vulnerable ecoregion are not well understood. Typical restoration types, including orchardland, grassland, shrubland, and forestland, were chosen to examine changes in the stocks and stoichiometry of SOC, soil total nitrogen (TN), and soil total phosphorus (TP) at different soil depths and recovery times. Results showed that SOC stocks first increased and then stabilized in orchardland, grassland, and shrubland at 0–30 cm depths, while in forestland, SOC stocks gradually increased. Soil TN stocks first increased and then decreased in orchardland, shrubland, and forestland with restoration age at 0–30 cm depths, while soil TP stocks showed little variation between restoration types; at the same time, the overall C:N, C:P, and N:P ratios increased with restoration age. In the later stages of restoration, the stocks of SOC and soil TN at 0–30 cm soil depths were still lower than those in natural grassland and natural forest. Additionally, the SOC, soil TN, and soil TP stocks and the C:N, C:P, and N:P ratios decreased with soil depth. The forestland had the highest rate of change in SOC and soil TN stocks, at 0–10 cm soil depth. These results indicate a complex response of SOC, soil TN, and soil TP stocks and stoichiometry to vegetation restoration, which could have important implications for understanding C, N, and P changes and nutrient limitations after vegetation restoration. View Full-Text
Keywords: soil stoichiometry; soil nutrient; nutrient limitations; natural grassland; natural forest soil stoichiometry; soil nutrient; nutrient limitations; natural grassland; natural forest
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Xu, H.; Qu, Q.; Li, P.; Guo, Z.; Wulan, E.; Xue, S. Stocks and Stoichiometry of Soil Organic Carbon, Total Nitrogen, and Total Phosphorus after Vegetation Restoration in the Loess Hilly Region, China. Forests 2019, 10, 27.

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