For different vegetation types, soil moisture content shows varying characteristics in different seasons and under different precipitation conditions. However, these characteristics have not been extensively analyzed in karst regions of southwest China. In this study, the soil moisture content of four plots of bare land, grassland, shrubland, and forestland was monitored, and the soil moisture content and corresponding meteorological data for each plot were analyzed. The results indicate that the average soil moisture content in grassland was the highest with weak temporal variation and that in bare, shrub, and forest lands soil moisture content was low with moderate temporal variation. The average soil moisture content in bare, grass, and forest lands was higher in the rainy season than in the dry season, whereas in shrubland, the soil moisture content was higher in the dry season than in the rainy season. Increase in soil moisture content during each precipitation event correlated with the rainfall amount. With increasing rainfall amount, soil moisture content in forest and shrub lands increased more than in bare and grass lands. The peak soil moisture time in each vegetation type plot varied and the peak soil moisture time was related to soil moisture content before a rainfall event. Temperature showed a strong negative correlation with soil moisture content for all vegetation cover types in both the dry and rainy season. Wind speed also showed a strong negative correlation with soil moisture content for all vegetation types during the dry season. Relative humidity had a strong positive correlation with soil moisture content in bare, shrub, and forest lands during the dry season as well as in the four vegetation types during the rainy season. These results demonstrate the variations in soil water characteristics across different vegetation types in karst regions of southwest China.
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