With the continuous increase in plantation areas, the reduction of natural forest areas, and the unreasonable management of plantations by human beings, the service function of forest ecosystems has gradually reduced. Therefore, close-to-natural forestry has become important for the sustainable development of modern forestry. However, the differences in soil properties, enzyme activities, microbial diversities, and undergrowth vegetation species diversities have not been systematically explained for Chinese fir (Cunninghamia lanceolata
). How do these indicators interact? The purpose of this paper was to study the difference in soil properties and biodiversity in different aged Chinese fir plantations and close-to-natural forests to explore their interactions and to provide direction for close-to-nature management. The results showed that the above indicators were significantly different in different aged Chinese fir plantations, soil pH, organic matter, total nitrogen, total phosphorus, total potassium, alkali-hydrolyzed nitrogen, available phosphorus concentrations, and urease activities in close-to-natural forests were significantly higher than plantations. It is worth mentioning that the richness of undergrowth vegetation species diversity (especially shrubs) and soil microbial diversities (especially fungi) in the close-to-natural forests were obviously higher than those in plantations. The correlation analysis results showed that the diversity of shrub species with respect to soil properties presented a higher correlation than herb species, the diversity of fungi with respect to soil properties presented a higher correlation than that observed for bacteria, and the diversity of fungi were significantly correlated with the diversity of undergrowth vegetation species diversities, but the correlation between bacteria and undergrowth vegetation species diversities was not significant. Our results suggest that the above factors are fundamental factors for the transformation of Chinese fir plantations to close-to-natural forests. To realize close-to-natural forestry, we must change the tree structure, combine the difference of those factors in different aged plantations, restore undergrowth vegetation species diversity, and thus improve microbial diversity and increase decomposition, transformation, and improvement of soil properties.
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