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Open AccessArticle

Optimizing the Stand Density of Robinia pseudoacacia L. Forests of the Loess Plateau, China, Based on Response to Soil Water and Soil Nutrient

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College of Soil and Water Conservation, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
2
Forest Ecosystem Studies, National Observation and Research Station, Jixian 042200, China
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Beijing Collaborative Innovation Centre for Eco-Environmental Improvement with Forestry and Fruit Trees, Beijing 100096, China
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Key Laboratory of State Forestry Administration on Soil and Water Conservation, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
5
Beijing Engineering Research Centre of Soil and Water Conservation, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
6
Engineering Research Centre of Forestry Ecological Engineering, Ministry of Education, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2019, 10(8), 663; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10080663
Received: 6 July 2019 / Revised: 28 July 2019 / Accepted: 5 August 2019 / Published: 6 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)
Improving low-efficiency artificial forests represents a popular forest hydrological issue, and exploring the optimal stand density (OSD) of low-efficiency artificial forests is an effective method for improving the soil conditions of forestland to prevent the deterioration of ecological function. Water and nutrients were the main limiting factors for vegetation growth. However, relatively few studies addressed the optimization of stand density based on these two factors at the same time. In this study, a total of 176 standard plots (20 × 20 m2) with six stand densities (~500, ~1000, ~1500, ~2000, ~2500 and ~3000 plants·hm−2) were established to investigate the water resources (soil moisture content (SMC), soil evaporation rate (SER), and vegetation transpiration rate (VTR)) and soil nutrient resources (total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorus (TP), total potassium (TK), calcium (CaCO3), organic matter content (OMC)) in low-efficiency Robinia pseudoacacia forestland on the Loess Plateau in western Shanxi, China from June to September each year from 2017 to 2018. The relationships between stand density and water and nutrient resources were analysed with the response surface method (RSM). The RSM results indicated that the OSD averaged 1594 plants·hm−2 and ranged from 940 to 2386 plants·hm−2. The percentage of standard plots with an unreasonable stand density was 35.29%, and 65% of these plots had a value that was higher than the maximum in the range while 35% had a value that was lower than the minimum. These results indicate that the current stand density should be manipulated to fall within the identified OSD range to ensure the normal functions of soil and water conservation in R. pseudoacacia forests. The results of this study serve as a guide for optimizing the stand density of low-efficiency R. pseudoacacia forests in China. View Full-Text
Keywords: Robinia pseudoacacia forest; stand density optimization; soil nutrients; evapotranspiration; response surface analysis Robinia pseudoacacia forest; stand density optimization; soil nutrients; evapotranspiration; response surface analysis
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Hou, G.; Bi, H.; Wang, N.; Cui, Y.; Ma, X.; Zhao, D.; Wang, S. Optimizing the Stand Density of Robinia pseudoacacia L. Forests of the Loess Plateau, China, Based on Response to Soil Water and Soil Nutrient. Forests 2019, 10, 663.

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