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Soil properties and microbial communities are the main contributors to aboveground vegetative biomass in reseeded grassland after long-term growth

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Abstract

Purpose

The overall production of degraded grassland ecosystems can be improved by reseeding appropriate species, but the responses of soil microbes to reseeded grassland after a long-term growth, especially the mediation effects of soil chemical compounds on the soil microbial community composition, have rarely been reported.

Materials and methods

In this study, we reseeded a degraded grassland with Bromus inermis Leyss and investigated the changes in aboveground (grassland biomass) and belowground factors (soil properties, soil chemical compounds, soil microbial diversity, and community) under reseeded and non-reseeded treatments.

Results and discussion

The reseeding of B. inermis significantly (P < 0.05) enchacecd the aboveground vegetative biomass by 22.72% as compared with the plots that were not reseeded. Significant (P < 0.05) differences were also observed in the soil chemical compounds and microbial diversity and community between the reseeded and non-reseeded treatments. Soil bacterial (R2 = 0.6271, P = 0.0007) and fungal α-diversity (R2 = 0.5895, P = 0.0013) were both positively correlated with grassland biomass. Moreover, the community compositons of soil bacterial (R = 0.465, P = 0.002) and fungal (R = 0.720, P = 0.001) also had significant correlations with grassland biomass. Actinoplanes, Streptomyces, Bacillus, and Mesorhizobium were identified as potential agents for promoting grassland growth. Network analysis showed that the assemblages of soil microbes in the reseeding treatment formed larger and more complex networks than those in the non-reseeding treatment.

Conclusions

Our study, cutting in terms of soil microbial ecology, provides a valuable model for explaining the aboveground responses to the establishment of perennial grass species in degraded grasslands.

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Data accessibility

The raw sequence data were deposited in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) under accession numbers SRP133594 (bacterial 16S RNA) and SRP133597 (fungal ITS), respectively.

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Acknowledgments

We thank G. W. Yang for his assistance in plant and soil sampling.

Funding

This work was financially supported by the earmarked fund for the China Agriculture Research System (CARS-34) and the Nanjing Agricultural University Foundation (Y0201600442).

Author information

Correspondence to Yan Xiao.

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Zhang, F., Xu, X., Shen, Z. et al. Soil properties and microbial communities are the main contributors to aboveground vegetative biomass in reseeded grassland after long-term growth. J Soils Sediments 20, 824–835 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11368-019-02433-0

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Keywords

  • Bromus inermis Leyss
  • MiSeq sequencing
  • Soil chemical compounds
  • Soil bacterial and fungal community
  • Soil properties