Soil Organic Carbon and Nitrogen Variations with Vegetation Succession in Passively Restored Freshwater Wetlands

Abstract

Passive restoration after agricultural abandonment has been widely practiced to improve soil quality and recover the ecological functions of degraded wetlands. However, studies concerning the relationships between soil and vegetation during natural succession are still lacking. In this study, the variations of soil organic carbon (SOC) and total nitrogen (TN), as well as their relationships with soil and vegetation properties were evaluated in passively restored freshwater wetlands with a chronosequence (2, 4, 8, 13, 16, and 20 years) on the Sanjiang Plain, China. An adjacent natural wetland was chosen as a reference system. Results indicated that soil and vegetation in restored wetlands changed substantially overtime, and gradually came to resemble natural wetlands. SOC and TN contents in the 10–30 cm soil layers required less time to achieve a natural level than those in the 0–10 cm soil layers. They were significantly correlated with soil water content and conductivity, especially in the 0–10 cm layer. Moreover, SOC and TN storages were synergistically improved, and highly dependent on plant diversity, height, coverage, and biomass. These results suggest that passive restoration is an efficient measure for forming wetland plant communities after agricultural abandonment, and ultimately enhances SOC and TN accumulation in restored wetlands.

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Fig. 1
Fig. 2

Data Availability

Not applicable.

Abbreviations

AGB:

aboveground biomass

BGB:

belowground biomass

IV :

important value

SBD:

soil bulk density

SC:

soil conductivity

SOC:

soil organic carbon

SWC:

soil water content

TN:

total nitrogen

TSN:

total soil nitrogen storage

TSOC:

total soil organic carbon storage

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Acknowledgements

This study was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41871102; 41601053; 41771106; 41771108), the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of China (XDA23060402), the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2016YFC0500403), and the Scientific and Technological Development Program of Jilin Province of China (20200201016JC; 20180201010SF).

Funding

This study was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41871102; 41601053; 41771106; 41771108), the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of China (XDA23060402), the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2016YFC0500403), and the Scientific and Technological Development Program of Jilin Province of China (20200201016JC; 20180201010SF).

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YA, YG, and XL designed the experiment. YA, YG, ST, and BL performed the experiments, and wrote the manuscript. TS and QQ analyzed the data.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Xiaohui Liu.

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An, Y., Gao, Y., Liu, X. et al. Soil Organic Carbon and Nitrogen Variations with Vegetation Succession in Passively Restored Freshwater Wetlands. Wetlands 41, 11 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13157-021-01413-w

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Keywords

  • Natural succession
  • Passive restoration
  • Soil organic carbon
  • Soil total nitrogen
  • Wetland function