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Effects of Planting Density on Soil Bulk Density, pH and Nutrients of Unthinned Chinese Fir Mature Stands in South Subtropical Region of China

1
Research Institute of Forestry, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Key Laboratory of Forest Silviculture of the State Forestry Administration, State Key Laboratory of Tree Genetics and Breeding, Beijing 100091, China
2
Collaborative Innovation Center of Sustainable Forestry in Southern China, Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing 210037, China
3
Experiment Center of Tropical Forestry, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Pingxiang 532600, China
4
Experimental Center of Subtropical Forestry, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Fenyi 336600, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2019, 10(4), 351; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10040351
Received: 7 April 2019 / Revised: 18 April 2019 / Accepted: 19 April 2019 / Published: 20 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Stand Management and Biomass Growth)
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Abstract

Chinese fir (Cunninghamia lanceolata (Lamb.) Hook) is a fast-growing evergreen conifer with high-quality timber and is an important reforestation and commercial tree species in southern China. Planting density affects the productivity of Chinese fir plantations. To study the effect of five different planting densities and soil depth on soil nutrient contents of a mature C. lanceolata plantation, the soil nutrient contents (soil depths 0–100 cm) of 36-year-old mature Chinese fir plantations under five different planting densities denoted A (1667 trees·ha−1), B (3333 trees·ha−1), C (5000 trees·ha−1), D (6667 trees·ha−1), and E (10,000 trees·ha−1) were measured in Pingxiang county, Guangxi province, China. Samples were collected from the soil surface down to a one meter depth from each of 45 soil profiles, and soil samples were obtained at 10 different soil depths of 0–10, 10–20, 20–30, 30–40, 40–50, 50–60, 60–70, 70–80, 80–90, and 90–100 cm. Twelve soil physical and chemical indicators were analyzed. The results showed that: (1) as planting density increased, the organic matter, organic carbon, total N and P, available N, effective Fe, and bulk density decreased. Soil pH, total K, and effective K increased with increasing planting density. Planting density did not significantly influence the exchangeable Ca and Mg. (2) Soil organic matter; organic carbon; total N and P; effective N, P, and K; exchangeable Ca and Mg; effective Fe content; and bulk density decreased with increasing soil depth. This pattern was particularly evident in the top 30 cm of the soil. (3) Excessively high planting density is not beneficial to the long-term maintenance of soil fertility in Chinese fir plantations, and the planting density of Chinese fir plantations should be maintained below 3333 stems·ha−1 (density A or B) to maintain soil fertility while ensuring high yields. View Full-Text
Keywords: Chinese fir; mature stand; planting density; soil profile; nutrient content Chinese fir; mature stand; planting density; soil profile; nutrient content
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Duan, A.; Lei, J.; Hu, X.; Zhang, J.; Du, H.; Zhang, X.; Guo, W.; Sun, J. Effects of Planting Density on Soil Bulk Density, pH and Nutrients of Unthinned Chinese Fir Mature Stands in South Subtropical Region of China. Forests 2019, 10, 351.

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