Introduction reference. We hypothesized that the patterns of soil


Ecological restoration has
received worldwide attention due to its vital roles in carbon (C)
sequestration, biodiversity conservation, desertification prevention and soil
fertility improvement of degraded lands. A target to restore at least 15% of
the degraded lands globally has been proposed by United Nations Convention on
Biological Diversity. However, there is evidence showing that many restoration
projects are failed or get limited success. In this sense, it is crucial to
monitor the dynamics of ecosystem structures, functions and processes during
ecological restoration, including soil fertility indices such as soil organic C
(soil C hereafter), soil total nitrogen (TN), soil total phosphorus (TP), and
soil microbial communities. Soil C is a perfect proxy for judging whether
degraded lands have improved, an increase in soil C benefits the improvement of
water holding capacity, nutrient retention capacity, soil structure and soil biological
quality. Soil TN and TP are the major limiting nutrients of ecosystem
productivity and play key roles in ecosystem restoration or succession. Soil
microbial communities play key roles in soil biogeochemical cycles and exerts
direct and indirect effects on the development of plant communities.
Additionally, soil microbial communities can be used as an integrated measure
of soil health or fertility due to their important roles in soil nutrient
cycling. Many factors change following agricultural abandonment or during
ecological restoration. Different restoration strategies, e.g., restoration
with different plant species with or without management, may be considered when
restoring a given degraded area. As different tree species or their
combinations may have differential effects on substrate quantity and quality,
rhizo/ myco rhizosphere chemistry, and other soil properties, they may induce
distinct profiles of soil microbial communities. SOM with high cellulose and
lignin content and high C:N ratio are likely decomposed via fungal-dominated
“slow” pathways, while moist, N-rich tissues are mainly decomposed via
bacterial-dominated “fast” pathway. Karst ecosystems are widely distributed
over the Earth’s land surface, including southwest China. In the past, a large
portion of the karst lands in southwest China has been degraded due to
intensive human disturbances especially agricultural activities. In the present
study, soil nutrients and microbial communities (characterized by phospholipid
fatty acid (PLFA) method) under three commonly adopted restoration strategies
in the karst area of southwest China were compared, i.e., i) restoration with
an economic tree species Toona sinensis (TS), ii) restoration with Guimu-1
hybrid elephant grass (GG), and iii) restoration with a combination of Zenia
insignis and Guimu-1 hybrid elephant grass (ZG). Cropland was used as
reference. We hypothesized that the patterns of soil C and TN in the present
study (observed in 2017) would be similar to those observed in 2014 (Hypothesis
I). On the other hand, fungi are sensitive to disturbance, e.g., tillage, but
bacteria can rapidly adapt to frequently changing soil environment.
Subsequently, the abundance of fungal community may increase more pronouncedly
relative to that of bacterial community when the disturbance ceases. We
therefore hypothesized that the fungal to bacteria PLFA (F:B) ratio would
increase following agricultural abandonment (Hypothesis II).Materials and
methodsThis study was conducted at Guzhou catchment in Guangxi Zhuang
Autonomous Region, southwest China. This region is located in the subtropical
humid forest life zone with a monsoon climate. The experiment site used to be a
cropland under maize-soybean rotation before 2002 and was distributed over the
bottom area of a slope of about 20. The major objective of the experiment was
to investigate the temporal dynamics of soil properties and plant community
following agricultural abandonment. The experiment adopted a completely
randomized block design with five treatments (four restoration strategies and a
cropland as reference) and three replications. The three restoration strategies
included in the current study are described below:Restoration with Toona
sinensis (TS), an economic tree species. The tender shoot in spring is a
popular vegetable in China.Restoration with Guimu-1 hybrid elephant grass (GG),
a hybrid of elephant grass and Pennisetum alopecuroides.This grass is perennial
and has high biomass production, harvested for 3 to 4 times per year and used
as fodder for beef.

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Restoration with a
combination of Zenia insignis and Guimu1 hybrid elephant grass (ZG). Zenia
insignis is a native tree species with the leaves used as additive to the
fodder for beef. The Guimu-1 hybrid elephant grass is usually harvested for 3
to 4 times per year and used as fodder for beef. For most of the sampling
sites, obvious organic layer was absent, so samples from organic layer were not
collected. The ten soil samples in a plot were mixed as a composite sample. A
subsample of fresh soil samples was freeze-dried and used for PLFA analysis. A
subsample of fresh soil was used for the analyses of microbial biomass C (MBC)
and N (MBN) using chloroform-fumigation extraction method. A subsample of soil
was air-dried and passed through 0.15 mm mesh sieve for measurements of soil C,
TN, TP, pH and exchangeable calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg). Subsamples were
further dried at 105 C for 24 h to determine gravimetric soil water content
(SWC). Phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs) were extracted from 8 g of freeze-dried
soil and were analyzed. Data were tested for normality of variance, and were
log transformed when necessary. One-way ANOVA was used to examine the
significant difference in the biotic and abiotic variables. Pearson’s
correlation analysis was used to identify the relationships among the biotic
and abiotic variables. Stepwise multiple linear regression approaches were used
to identify and evaluate the contributions of the strongest explanatory
variables to PLFA biomarkers.


Results Soil mass thickness
in CR and GG was fundamentally more prominent than that in TS (Table 1). Soil
water substance and pH were not essentially influenced by rebuilding.
Replaceable Ca was higher in TS than in CR, however, that in GG and ZT was not
fundamentally expanded. Replaceable Mg was higher in TS and GG than in CR and
ZG. For the cropland, the fixation was in fig 1. Following 16 years of
reclamation, soil C level was dramatically increased in TS, and that in GG and
ZG was raised by around half with respect to CR. Soil Add up to NITROGEN
fixation in GG was not altogether unique in relation to CR, but rather that in
TS and ZG was expanded by 93% and 55% in respect to the level in CR. soil Add
up to PHOSPHORUS fixation in GG was not changed after the transformation from
CR to ZG, however, that in TS and ZG were essentially expanded (Fig.1a). The
examples of C:N and C:P proportions were comparative with the qualities higher
in TS (11.49 ± 0.05 for C:N, 41.82 ± 2.05 for C:P) and GG (12.65 ± 0.84 for
C:N, 37.70 ± 2.40 for C:P) than those in CR (9.85 ± 0.37 for C:N, 27.29 ± 2.53
for C:P) and ZG (9.90 ± 0.04 for C:N, 31.04 ± 0.51 for C:P) (Fig. 1b). N:P
proportion was just altogether expanded in TS (3.64 ± 0.16) in respect to CR
(2.77 ± 0.27). Both MBC and MBN fixations were essentially expanded in TS and
GG by 124% and 82%, respectively,(Fig. 2). The MBC: MBN proportion was
fundamentally expanded after cropland deserting and was most astounding in TS,
middle of the road in GG and ZG (Fig. 3). The extent of soil C put away in MBC
was not fundamentally modified by rural relinquishment since there was no
noteworthy distinction in MBC: soil C proportion amongst CR and both of the
other three medicines, however, the proportion was essentially lower in ZG than
in GG (Fig. 2b). The extent of soil N put away in MBN was just expanded
altogether in GG with respect to CR. The wealth (communicated in nmol g1 soil)
of aggregate PLFAs was fundamentally expanded by 55-69% after horticultural
deserting. There was no noteworthy contrast altogether PLFAs among the three
reclamation techniques (Fig. 4). The relative wealth (i.e., the proportion of a
given gathering of PLFAs to add up to PLFAs communicated as rate) was not
fundamentally adjusted by reclamation for add up to microscopic organisms,
Gram-negative microbes and actinomycete (Fig. 5). The relative wealth of
Gram-positive microscopic organisms was diminished, however, that of AMF was
expanded in GG with respect to CR. Both the relative wealth of contagious PLFAs
(Fig. S1) and F: B proportion (Fig. 6) were essentially expanded after
horticultural relinquishment. GP: GN proportion was altogether lower in GG than
in CR, however, the proportion in TS and ZG was like CR (Fig. 7). As indicated
by MRPP test, the dirt microbial group profile was fundamentally changed after
farming relinquishment (Table 2). Soil C, Add up to NITROGEN, Add up to
PHOSPHORUS, MBC, MBN, and MBC: MBN were essentially corresponded with add up to
PLFAs, bacterial PLFAs, Contagious PLFAs and Gram-positive bacterial PLFAs
(Table 3). The above soil properties aside from Add up to NITROGEN were
additionally altogether associated with actinomycete PLFAs. AMF PLFAs was just
altogether identified with C: N proportion.


Rebuilding impacts on soil
carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and their stoichiometry. We found that the three
rebuilding techniques effectsly affected soil C, Add up to NITROGEN and
Aggregate PHOSPHORUS focuses. Soil Add up to NITROGEN focus was altogether
expanded in TS and ZG, however not in GG. Soil C focus was expanded
fundamentally under the three reclamation techniques with that in TS expanded
generally pronouncedly. This is not quite the same as the outcomes saw in 2014,
when soil C level was fundamentally expanded just in TS yet not in GG and ZG.
Along these lines, Theory I was not incompletely bolstered. The likelihood is
that huge level was come to amid the previous three years. The variety of soil
C pool is controlled by natural issue information sources and misfortunes with
the last unequivocally identified with the capacity of a dirt to balance out
SOM. Suspension of culturing and higher waste data sources in this way add to
soil C amassing in the reclamation medications. For GG and ZG, the
over-the-ground biomass was generally or incompletely reaped. In any case,
there is prove supporting that root biomass of the enduring grasses is
substantially more prominent than soybean or corn, which benefits soil C
gathering in lasting grass fields. Higher subterranean waste contributions to
GG and ZG would add to their higher soil C levels than in CR. Likewise, we
suggest that the capacity of a dirt to settle SOM is more critical than natural
issue contributions to deciding SOM gathering, since the information natural
issue might be lost if the capacity of a dirt to balance out SOM is low. Soil
Add up to PHOSPHORUS variety is the adjust of outside data sources and yield
add up to phosphorus. P treatment is normally the significant information
pathway in cropland, however bedrock discharge and to a less degree climatic
affidavit are the major pathways of soil P contributions under common
conditions. The low soil Add up to PHOSPHORUS fixation in CR might be because
of the expulsion by means of collect, since the versatility is low for soil P.
The critical increment in soil Add up to PHOSPHORUS following rural deserting
recommends high shake inferred P input. In help of this, the limestone in the
southwest China is copious with P. Thus, Alfisols created on calcareous parent
material contains the most elevated P levels in marsh tropical rain woods. This
clarifies the larger amounts of soil Add up to PHOSPHORUS in TS and ZG than in
CR. The low level of P in GG is likely because of evacuation by means of reap,
an indistinguishable route from in CR. The biogeochemical cycles of C, N and P
are coupled by essential elephant grass. Table 2 Results from multi-reaction
change system (MRPP) trial of the invalid speculation of no distinction in PLFA
profile among the four land utilize types. In the present investigation, the
land utilize impacts are differential on soil C, N and P stoichiometry relying
upon reclamation technique. Soil C:N and C:P proportions were both expanded in
TS and GG, however soil N:P proportion was just expanded under TS, recommending
N and P are ending up additionally constraining to plant development in TS and
GG, and more noteworthy P constraint in TS. The proportions saw in the present
investigation are much lower than the midpoints in 0.10 cm soil profundity
crosswise over China (C:N, C:P and N:P are 14.4 ± 0.4, 136 ± 11 and 9.3 ± 0.7,
individually), particularly for C:P and N:P, proposing higher soil N and P
status in the contemplated destinations in respect to different biological
communities in China. MBC and MBN changed in comparable examples following
agrarian deserting with the qualities in TS and GG fundamentally higher than in
CR. As C:N proportion is around 6.5 for microscopic organisms and 5.17 for
parasites, a high MBC:MBN proportion may propose the dirt microbial group is
ruled by growths, generally by microorganisms. The proportions are for the most
part higher than 6.5, proposing growths may rule the microbial groups in the
four land utilize types in the present examination. Also, the example of
MBC:MBN proportion (most elevated in TS, halfway in GG and ZG and least in CR)
may noteworthy at P