Home Science Environment High Plant Diversity Has a Positive Effect on Soil Properties and Soil...

High Plant Diversity Has a Positive Effect on Soil Properties and Soil Fauna in Rubber Plantation

Plant diversity affects soil properties, which in turn, affects plant productivity. Soil quality (SQ) includes the assessment of soil properties and its processes related to the ability of soil to function effectively as a component of a healthy ecosystem. However, almost no studies have reported on the relationship between plant diversity and SQ under different seasons in the rubber plantations in Xishuangbanna.

In a study published in Ecological Indicators, researchers from Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) tried to analyze the response of soil properties as indicators of soil quality in different plant diversity and seasons. They proved their hypothesis that high plant diversity had a positive effect on both soil properties and soil fauna in the rubber plantation.

The increase of plant diversity resulted in a positive effect on soil quality, and the highest values of SQI occurred in the dry season. (Image: via pixabay / CC0 1.0)
The increase of plant diversity resulted in a positive effect on soil quality, and the highest values of SQI occurred in the dry season. (Image: via pixabay / CC0 1.0)

The researchers collected soil samples during dry and rainy seasons at a depth of 0-10 cm at four sites (Bubeng, Jingtai, Nabanhe National Nature Reserve, and XTBG) in Xishuangbanna, SW China, and analyzed 16 soil properties. The soil quality index (SQI) was computed from the minimum data set derived from principal component analysis. They found that the soil quality index (SQI) values differed significantly among different plant diversities at different seasons. Low plant diversity significantly reduced the nematode abundance in all four study sites. Seasonality (dry and rainy) and plant diversity (high and low) had more impact on the arthropod population.

The increase of plant diversity resulted in a positive effect on soil quality, and the highest values of SQI occurred in the dry season. Total organic carbon, total nitrogen, arthropod abundance, the mass of dry root, nematode abundance, and total sulfur were identified as key soil quality indicators, where total nitrogen and total organic carbon contributed the maximum to SQ. Prof. YANG Xiaodong, the principal investigator of the study, said:

Provided by: Zhang Nannan, Chinese Academy of Sciences [Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.]

Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our email list

Troy Oakes
Troy was born and raised in Australia and has always wanted to know why and how things work, which led him to his love for science. He is a professional photographer and enjoys taking pictures of Australia's beautiful landscapes. He is also a professional storm chaser where he currently lives in Hervey Bay, Australia.

Most Popular

Scientists Rediscover the Elusive Singing Dogs of New Guinea

The New Guinea singing dog is an animal that was thought to have been extinct in the wild for around 50 years. The 200...

UK Government Pressured BBC Segment on Organ Harvesting in China

The United Kingdom’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) used its authority to have BBC cancel a planned program about communist China’s organ harvesting abuses,...

How Xi Jinping’s Congratulations to Biden Could Backfire

The Chinese leadership’s delayed congratulations to Joe Biden and his running mate may have arisen from confusion — and perhaps self-inflicted misinformation — about...

Elon Musk Is Unsure Whether He Has COVID-19

Back in March, the Chief Executive of SpaceX, Elon Musk, tweeted that panic about COVID-19 might end up causing more harm than the virus....