Divergent accumulation of amino sugars and lignins mediated by soil functional carbon pools under tropical forest conversion

Tengteng Li, Hao Cheng, Yue Li, Zhijian Mou, Xiaomin Zhu, Wenjia Wu, Jing Zhang, Luhui Kuang, Jun Wang, Dafeng Hui, Hans Lambers, Jordi Sardans, Josep Peñuelas, Hai Ren, Azian Binti Mohti, Naishen Liang, Zhanfeng Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Tropical primary forests are being destroyed at an alarming rate and converted for other land uses which is expected to greatly influence soil carbon (C) cycling. However, our understanding of how tropical forest conversions affect the accumulation of compounds in soil functional C pools remains unclear. Here, we collected soils from primary forests (PF), secondary forests (SF), oil-palm (OP), and rubber plantations (RP), and assessed the accumulation of plant- and microbial-derived compounds within soil organic carbon (SOC), particulate (POC) and mineral-associated (MAOC) organic C. PF conversion to RP greatly decreased SOC, POC, and MAOC concentrations, whereas conversion to SF increased POC concentrations and decreased MAOC concentrations, and conversion to OP only increased POC concentrations. PF conversion to RP decreased lignin concentrations and increased amino sugar concentrations in SOC pools which increased the stability of SOC, whereas conversion to SF only increased the lignin concentrations in POC, and conversion to OP just increased lignin concentrations in POC and decreased it in MAOC. We observed divergent dynamics of amino sugars (decrease) and lignin (increase) in SOC with increasing SOC. Only lignin concentrations increased in POC with increasing POC and amino sugars concentrations decreased in MAOC with increasing MAOC. Conversion to RP significantly decreased soil enzyme activities and microbial biomasses. Lignin accumulation was associated with microbial properties, whereas amino sugar accumulation was mainly associated with soil nutrients and stoichiometries. These results suggest that the divergent accumulation of plant- and microbial-derived C in SOC was delivered by the distribution and original composition of functional C pools under forest conversions. Forest conversions changed the formation and stabilization processes of SOC in the long run which was associated with converted plantations and management. The important roles of soil nutrients and stoichiometry also provide a natural-based solution to enhance SOC sequestration via nutrient management in tropical forests.
Original languageEnglish
Article number163204
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2023


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