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The trajectories of vegetative structure and soil microbial function diverged across a fire chronosequence of the boreal forests in Northeast China

Citation

Zhou, Zhiyong (2021), The trajectories of vegetative structure and soil microbial function diverged across a fire chronosequence of the boreal forests in Northeast China, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.j3tx95xbz

Abstract

The role of boreal forest to ameliorate the effect of global climate change largely depends on the regeneration of postfire forests in northeast China. The postfire recovery of boreal forest can be evaluated by the aboveground vegetative structure and soil microbial function. In present study, a 50-year fire chronosequence was established, and the biomass of forbs, shrub and woody plant was separately weighted to assess their contribution to the whole community with the year since fire (YSF). Simultaneously, soil biophysical properties were measured for stands in different time period after fire. Soil microbial functions, i.e., growth efficiency (GE) and carbon use efficiency (CUE), were calculated basing on ecoenzymatic and soil nutrient stoichiometry. In terms of vegetative structure, forbs’ proportion decreased from 75% to 1.5%, but the proportion of woody plant increased from 0.04% to 70% across this fire chronosequence. In contrast, soil microbial function reached the highest value in 15 YSF and then began to decrease. As an important variable, soil metal content, particularly the calcium content, showed a positive correlation with woody plant biomass and a negative with soil microbial function. Furthermore, soil metal content was significantly increased in the late stage of this fire chronosequence. Overall, the present work highlighted that the time period of 15 YSF and 31 YSF was a hallmark stage for aboveground vegetative structure and soil microbial function to change in different trends, and the calcium content may partly account for these two divergent trajectories.

Methods

A fire chronosequence of 50 years was built in northeast China. The aboveground vegetative structure and soil microbial functions were investigated across this fire chronosquence. The change of vegetative structure was displayed by the proportion of woody plant biomass with the time since fire,a nd soil microbial function was reflected by the ecoenzymatic activity and soil microbial growth efficiency. The chaning trends of vegetative structure and soil microbial function was assessed with the year since fire.

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