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Open AccessArticle

The Effect of Re-Planting Trees on Soil Microbial Communities in a Wildfire-Induced Subalpine Grassland

1
Mackay Junior College of Medicine, Nursing and Management, Beitou, Taipei 11260, Taiwan
2
Environmental Monitoring and Research Division, Monitoring and Research Department, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, 6001 W. Pershing Road, Cicero, IL 60804, USA
3
Biodiversity Research Center, Academia Sinica, Nankang, Taipei 11529, Taiwan
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2017, 8(10), 385; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8100385
Received: 14 August 2017 / Revised: 2 October 2017 / Accepted: 3 October 2017 / Published: 7 October 2017
Wildfire often causes tremendous changes in ecosystems, particularly in subalpine and alpine areas, which are vulnerable due to severe climate conditions such as cold temperature and strong wind. This study aimed to clarify the effect of tree re-planting on ecosystem services such as the soil microbial community after several decades. We compared the re-planted forest and grassland with the mature forest as a reference in terms of soil microbial biomass C and N (Cmic and Nmic), enzyme activities, phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA) composition, and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). The Cmic and Nmic did not differ among the grassland, re-planted forest and mature forest soil; however, ratios of Cmic/Corg and Nmic/Ntot decreased from the grassland to re-planted forest and mature forest soil. The total PLFAs and those attributed to bacteria and Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria did not differ between the re-planted forest and grassland soil. Principle component analysis of the PLFA content separated the grassland from re-planted forest and mature forest soil. Similarly, DGGE analysis revealed changes in both bacterial and fungal community structures with changes in vegetation. Our results suggest that the microbial community structure changes with the re-planting of trees after a fire event in this subalpine area. Recovery of the soil microbial community to the original state in a fire-damaged site in a subalpine area may require decades, even under a re-planted forest. View Full-Text
Keywords: wildfire; enzyme activities; microbial biomass; phospholipid fatty acid; reforestation; subalpine wildfire; enzyme activities; microbial biomass; phospholipid fatty acid; reforestation; subalpine
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Chang, E.-H.; Tian, G.; Chiu, C.-Y. The Effect of Re-Planting Trees on Soil Microbial Communities in a Wildfire-Induced Subalpine Grassland. Forests 2017, 8, 385.

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