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Tropical Rainforest Restoration Plantations Are Slow to Restore the Soil Biological and Organic Carbon Characteristics of Old Growth Rainforest

Bonner, Mark and Allen, Diane E. and Brackin, Richard and Smith, Tim E. and Lewis, Tom and Shoo, Luke P. and Schmidt, Susanne (2020). Tropical Rainforest Restoration Plantations Are Slow to Restore the Soil Biological and Organic Carbon Characteristics of Old Growth Rainforest. Microbial Ecology. 79 , 432-442
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Abstract

Widespread and continuing losses of tropical old-growth forests imperil global biodiversity and alter global carbon (C) cycling. Soil organic carbon (SOC) typically declines with land use change from old-growth forest, but the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. Ecological restoration plantations offer an established means of restoring aboveground biomass, structure and diversity of forests, but their capacity to recover the soil microbial community and SOC is unknown due to limited empirical data and consensus on the mechanisms of SOC formation. Here, we examine soil microbial community response and SOC in tropical rainforest restoration plantings, comparing them with the original old-growth forest and the previous land use (pasture). Two decades post-reforestation, we found a statistically significant but small increase in SOC in the fast-turnover particulate C fraction. Although the delta C-13 signature of the more stable humic organic C (HOC) fraction indicated a significant compositional turnover in reforested soils, from C-4 pasture-derived C to C-3 forest-derived C, this did not translate to HOC gains compared with the pasture baseline. Matched old-growth rainforest soils had significantly higher concentrations of HOC than pasture and reforested soils, and soil microbial enzyme efficiency and the ratio of gram-positive to gram-negative bacteria followed the same pattern. Restoration plantings had unique soil microbial composition and function, distinct from baseline pasture but not converging on target old growth rainforest within the examined timeframe. Our results suggest that tropical reforestation efforts could benefit from management interventions beyond re-establishing tree cover to realize the ambition of early recovery of soil microbial communities and stable SOC.

Authors/Creators:Bonner, Mark and Allen, Diane E. and Brackin, Richard and Smith, Tim E. and Lewis, Tom and Shoo, Luke P. and Schmidt, Susanne
Title:Tropical Rainforest Restoration Plantations Are Slow to Restore the Soil Biological and Organic Carbon Characteristics of Old Growth Rainforest
Year of publishing :2020
Volume:79
Page range:432-442
Number of Pages:11
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0095-3628
Language:English
Publication Type:Journal article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 401 Agricultural, Forestry and Fisheries > Soil Science
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 401 Agricultural, Forestry and Fisheries > Forest Science
Keywords:Mixed-species plantations, Soil fungi and bacteria, Soil carbon sequestration, Microbial function and composition, Microbial ecology, Land use change
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-104872
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-104872
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.1007/s00248-019-01414-7
Web of Science (WoS)000514980800014
ID Code:16780
Faculty:S - Faculty of Forest Sciences
Department:(S) > Dept. of Forest Ecology and Management
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:26 Mar 2020 14:09
Metadata Last Modified:06 Sep 2020 10:01

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