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Sustainability 2019, 11(8), 2295; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11082295

Effects of Vegetation Restoration on Soil Bacterial Communities, Enzyme Activities, and Nutrients of Reconstructed Soil in a Mining Area on the Loess Plateau, China

1
Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Water Resources, Yangling 712100, China
2
Upper and Middle Yellow River Bureau, Yellow River Conservancy Commission of the Ministry of Water Resources, Xi’an 710021, China
3
College of Resource and Environment, Northwest A & F University, Yangling 712100, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 12 March 2019 / Revised: 15 April 2019 / Accepted: 15 April 2019 / Published: 17 April 2019
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Abstract

Soil microbes are the main driving forces and influencing factors of biochemical reactions in the environment. Study of ecological recovery after mining activities has prompted wider recognition of the importance of microbial diversity to ecosystem recovery; however, the response of soil bacterial communities to vegetation restoration types and soil biochemical properties remains poorly understood. The purpose of this research was to explore the soil bacterial communities and soil biochemical properties at four sampling sites (brushland (BL), forestland (FL), grassland (GL) and unreclaimed land (UL)) on the Loess Plateau, China, to evaluate the effect of vegetation restoration on the reconstructed soil in mining areas. In August 2017, samples were collected at the Heidaigou coal mine dumps. Illumina MiSeq sequencing was used to identify the structure of the soil bacterial community and evaluate its relationships with soil biochemical properties. The results showed that soil biochemical properties (soil organic matter, available phosphorus, urease, sucrase, microbial biomass carbon and microbial biomass nitrogen) were significantly increased in BL, FL and GL relative to UL, indicating that the soil quality was significantly improved by vegetation restoration. In addition, the results showed that the vegetation restoration on the reconstructed soil in the mining area could significantly improve the operational taxonomic units (OTUs), abundance (ACE and Chao1) and diversity (Shannon and Simpson) indices of bacterial community and the dominant phyla were Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria and Acidobacteria. With vegetation restoration, the relative abundance of Proteobacteria and Acidobacteria showed an increasing trend, while that of Actinobacteria showed a decreasing trend, and the dominant phyla were only significantly correlated with a few biochemical properties. Moreover, there were no changes in soil bacterial community structures across the four sampling sites and the response of the bacterial community to biochemical properties was not obvious. This implies that, although the region has experienced about 20 years of vegetation restoration, the microbial community still maintains good stability and lagging response to soil biochemical properties. Since the BL soil had better biochemical properties and higher bacterial richness and diversity, it was recommended as the optimum vegetation restoration type for soil reclamation in this area. View Full-Text
Keywords: high-throughput sequencing; vegetation restoration; reconstruction soil; enzyme activities; the Loess Plateau high-throughput sequencing; vegetation restoration; reconstruction soil; enzyme activities; the Loess Plateau
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Li, P.; Zhang, X.; Hao, M.; Cui, Y.; Zhu, S.; Zhang, Y. Effects of Vegetation Restoration on Soil Bacterial Communities, Enzyme Activities, and Nutrients of Reconstructed Soil in a Mining Area on the Loess Plateau, China. Sustainability 2019, 11, 2295.

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