Soil organic carbon (SOC) mineralization is closely related to carbon source or sink of terrestrial ecosystem. Understanding SOC mineralization under plum plantation is essential for improving our understanding of SOC responses to land-use change in karst rocky desertification ecosystem. In this study, 2-year, 5-year, and 20-year plum plantations and adjacent abandoned land dominated by herbs were sampled, and a 90-day incubation experiment was conducted to investigate the effect of plum plantations with different ages on SOC mineralization in subtropical China. Results showed that: (1) Plum plantation significantly decreased SOC content compared with abandoned land, but there was no significant difference in SOC content among plum plantations with different ages. Oppositely, the accumulative SOC mineralization (Ct
) and potential SOC mineralization (C0
) showed different responses to plum plantation ages. (2) The dynamics of the SOC mineralization were a good fit to a first-order kinetic model. Both C0
in calcareous soil of this study was several- to 10-folds lower than other soils in non-karst regions, indicating that SOC in karst regions has higher stability. (3) Correlation analysis revealed that both Ct
was significantly correlated with soil calcium (Ca), suggesting an important role of Ca in SOC mineralization in karst rocky desertification areas. In conclusion, a Ca-rich geological background controls SOC mineralization in karst rocky desertification areas.
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