Tree species richness as an important biotic factor regulates the soil phosphorus density in China's mature natural forests

Xujun Liu, Xuli Tang, Zhiyang Lie, Xinhua He, Guoyi Zhou, Junhua Yan, Keping Ma, Sheng Du, Shenggong Li, Shijie Han, Youxin Ma, Genxu Wang, Juxiu Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Tree species richness has been recognized as an underlying driving factor for regulating soil phosphorus (P) status in many site-specific studies. However, it remains poorly understood whether this is true at broad scales where soil P strongly rely on climate, soil type and vegetation type. Here, based on the data of 946 mature natural forest sites from a nationwide field survey in China, we analyzed the impact of tree species richness on soil P density of China's mature natural forests (deciduous coniferous forest, DCF; evergreen coniferous forest, ECF; deciduous broad-leaved forest, DBF; evergreen broad-leaved forest, EBF; and mixed coniferous and broad-leaved forest, MF). Our results showed that tree species richness had a negative effect on soil P density in China's mature natural forests. The Random Forest regression model showed that the relative importance of tree species richness to soil P density was second only to the climate factors (mean annual temperature, MAT; mean annual precipitation, MAP). In addition, the structural equation model (SEM) results showed that the goodness fit of SEM increased when the tree species richness was included into the model. These results suggested that tree species richness was an important factor in regulating the China's mature natural forests soil P density. Furthermore, the SEM results showed that the decreased soil P density was related to the increase in ANPP and the decrease in litter P concentration induced by tree species richness. This result indicates that tree species richness could facilitate plant P absorption and inhibit plant P return into the soil, and thus reducing the soil P density in China's mature natural forests. In conclusion, we found tree species richness was an important biotic factor in regulating soil P density at broad scales, which should be fully considered in Earth models that represent P cycle.
Original languageEnglish
Article number157277
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume845
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2022

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