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Forests 2017, 8(11), 460; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8110460

Soil Degradation and the Decline of Available Nitrogen and Phosphorus in Soils of the Main Forest Types in the Qinling Mountains of China

1
College of Forestry, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 712100, China
2
School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, USA
3
Qinling National Forest Ecosystem Research Station, Huoditang, Ningshan 711600, China
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 6 November 2017 / Revised: 15 November 2017 / Accepted: 20 November 2017 / Published: 21 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon, Nitrogen and Phosphorus Cycling in Forest Soils)
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Abstract

Soil degradation has been reported worldwide. To better understand this degradation, we selected Pinus armandii and Quercus aliena var. acuteserrata forests, and a mixed forest of Q. aliena var. acuteserrata and P. armandii in the Qinling Mountains in China for our permanent plots and conducted three investigations over a 20-year period. We determined the amounts of available nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) in the soil to track the trajectory of soil quality and compared these with stand characteristics, topographic and climatic attributes to analyze the strength of each factor in influencing the available N and P in the soil. We found that the soil experienced a severe drop in quality, and that degradation is continuing. Temperature is the most critical factor controlling the soil available N, and species composition is the main factor regulating the soil available P. Given the huge gap in content and the increasing rate of nutrients loss, this reduction in soil quality will likely negatively affect ecosystem sustainability. View Full-Text
Keywords: soil degradation; soil available nitrogen; soil available phosphorus; temperature; stand density soil degradation; soil available nitrogen; soil available phosphorus; temperature; stand density
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Zheng, X.; Yuan, J.; Zhang, T.; Hao, F.; Jose, S.; Zhang, S. Soil Degradation and the Decline of Available Nitrogen and Phosphorus in Soils of the Main Forest Types in the Qinling Mountains of China. Forests 2017, 8, 460.

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