Plant-Soil Interactions under Abiotic or Biotic Stresses

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907). This special issue belongs to the section "Forest Soil".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (22 February 2023) | Viewed by 13299

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
School of Ecology and Environment, Northwestern Polytechnical University, Xi'an 710129, China
Interests: forest ecology; biodiversity and ecosystem functioning

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Guest Editor
Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang, China
Interests: mycorrhizal ecology; soil biogeochemistry

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Guest Editor
School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Melbourne, 500 Yarra Boulevard, Richmond, VIC 3121, Australia
Interests: biogeochemistry (nutrient cycling, nutrient stoichiometry, litter decomposition and nutrient release); forest ecology (plant and soil interactions, functional traits, feedback processes); soil ecology (soil microbial biomass, mycorrhizal fungal communities, molecular techniques); soil seed bank ecology (characterization and distribution of seedbank species)

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue intends to gather the latest studies on plant-soil interactions under a broad range of biotic or abiotic stresses in forest ecosystems, aiming to address and further improve our knowledge of this interdisciplinary topic.

Plant–soil interactions describe a wide range of physical, biological, and chemical effects exerted by soils on plant performance, growth, and reproduction, as well as reciprocal effects of plants on soil formation, physical structure, and the activities of the soil biota, which would occur over a wide range of temporal and spatial scales. Forests, as a vital part of the terrestrial biosphere, not only provide valuable ecosystem goods and services but also support a vast biodiversity of organisms. The complex interplay of soils and plants in forest ecosystems has commanded attention for a long time, and a deep (improved) understanding is necessary to explore the impacts of the concurrent occurrence of abiotic and biotic stresses on plant-soil interactions. We encourage studies from all fields, including experimental studies, monitoring approaches, and models, to contribute to this Special Issue in order to promote knowledge and adaptation strategies for the preservation, management, and future development of forest ecosystems. 

Dr. Zuoqiang Yuan
Dr. Guigang Lin
Dr. Cristina Aponte
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • extreme climatic events
  • disturbances
  • carbon sequestration
  • plant community composition
  • soil biota
  • plant–enemy coevolution
  • rhizosphere
  • plant-enemy coevolution
  • plant-soil feedbacks

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

11 pages, 1359 KiB  
Article
Shrubs Should Be Valued: The Functional Traits of Lonicera fragrantissima var. lancifolia in a Qinling Huangguan Forest Dynamics Plot, China
by Anxia Han, Jing Qiu, Ruoming Cao, Shihong Jia, Zhanqing Hao and Qiulong Yin
Forests 2022, 13(7), 1147; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13071147 - 21 Jul 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1458
Abstract
Previous studies have focused on the functional traits of trees, while undergrowth shrubs have not received the same attention. We collected 97 shrubs from 6 habitats in 3 diameter classes to measure the functional traits of Lonicera fragrantissima var. lancifolia, which is [...] Read more.
Previous studies have focused on the functional traits of trees, while undergrowth shrubs have not received the same attention. We collected 97 shrubs from 6 habitats in 3 diameter classes to measure the functional traits of Lonicera fragrantissima var. lancifolia, which is one of the dominant species in the shrub layer of the Qinling Huangguan plot. We found that leaf thickness (LT) decreased with an increase in diameter classes. Other functional traits did not change significantly with the diameter classes. Most of the functional traits changed with the habitats, which may be influenced by topography and soil. On the whole, Lonicera fragrantissima var. lancifolia showed low variation, which indicates that its growth was stable and good. The relationships between functional traits within species was in accordance with the leaf economic spectrum. The positive correlation between soil total nitrogen (STN) and C:N verified the “nutrition luxury hypothesis”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Soil Interactions under Abiotic or Biotic Stresses)
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11 pages, 2456 KiB  
Article
Soil Aggregate Stability and Carbon Density in Three Plantations in the Loess Plateau, China
by Lili Dong and Meng Kou
Forests 2022, 13(7), 1096; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13071096 - 13 Jul 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1497
Abstract
Afforestation plays an important role in mitigating soil erosion and improving soil quality in the Loess Plateau. However, there is no consistent conclusion about the effect of tree species on soil properties. Robinia pseudoacacia, Pinus tabulaeformis, and Malus pumila plantations were [...] Read more.
Afforestation plays an important role in mitigating soil erosion and improving soil quality in the Loess Plateau. However, there is no consistent conclusion about the effect of tree species on soil properties. Robinia pseudoacacia, Pinus tabulaeformis, and Malus pumila plantations were selected as the research objects. Soil indices such as the content of soil organic carbon (SOC) and inorganic carbon (SIC), carbon density, soil aggregate stability, and bulk density were selected to study the effects of different plantations on soil properties. The mean weight diameter (MWD) was calculated to evaluate soil aggregate stability. The results showed that: (1) MWD of R. pseudoacacia was 22%–67% lower than that of P. tabuliformis across the 0–80 cm soil layers. MWD of M. pumila was 27%–45% and 57%–78% lower than that of R. pseudoacacia and P. tabuliformis across 0–50 cm layers. (2) SOC of P. tabuliformis was 61%–127% and 67%–148% higher than that of R. pseudoacacia and M. pumila, respectively, while SIC was 55%–82% and 12%–14% lower than that of R. pseudoacacia and M. pumila. (3) Soil carbon density, including soil organic carbon density and inorganic carbon density, of P. tabuliformis was 36%–49% and 3%–31% lower than that of R. pseudoacacia and M. pumila, respectively. (4) Aggregate organic carbon increased with increasing aggregate size, while inorganic carbon decreased. Water-stable aggregates with larger sizes had higher soil organic carbon and lower carbonate calcium. (5) The inorganic carbon in soil was both a binder and a dispersant of soil aggregates, which depends on its content. P. tabuliformis should be planted in the semi-arid area of the Loess Plateau in China, because this species was able to increase soil organic matter and improve soil structure compared with the other two species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Soil Interactions under Abiotic or Biotic Stresses)
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18 pages, 20184 KiB  
Article
Effects of Sewage Sludge Application on Plant Growth and Soil Characteristics at a Pinus sylvestris var. mongolica Plantation in Horqin Sandy Land
by Jie Bai, Xuekai Sun, Chengbin Xu, Xiping Ma, Yue Huang, Zhiping Fan and Xiangyu Cao
Forests 2022, 13(7), 984; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13070984 - 23 Jun 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2444
Abstract
The application of domestic sewage sludge (SS) may affect plant growth and soil quality through altering nutrient availability. However, the effect of SS application on the plant–soil system in sandy soils is poorly understood. In this study, we established SS application treatment plots [...] Read more.
The application of domestic sewage sludge (SS) may affect plant growth and soil quality through altering nutrient availability. However, the effect of SS application on the plant–soil system in sandy soils is poorly understood. In this study, we established SS application treatment plots (SL, 25 t ha−1) and control treatment plots without sewage sludge application (CK, 0 t ha−1). SS was applied to the soil surface of a Mongolian pine (Pinus sylvestris var. mongolica) plantation in Horqin Sandy Land, Inner Mongolia, China, to assess its potential effects on plants and soil. We analyzed tree growth performances (tree height, basal diameter, and diameter at breast height), understory traits (species diversity, coverage, and aboveground biomass), soil physical and chemical parameters (nutrient content, dissolved organic carbon, soil water content, bulk density, pH), and proxies of ecosystem services (soil organic carbon and total nitrogen stocks). The results showed that SS addition not only significantly increased soil nutrient contents, but also markedly enhanced aboveground productivity and plant coverage. Specifically, SS addition decreased soil bulk density and increased concentrations of soil organic carbon, total nitrogen, and total phosphorus and mineral nitrogen, and it also increased soil carbon and nitrogen stocks. Furthermore, the addition of SS significantly increased soil dissolved organic carbon contents and enhanced the fluorescence intensities of dissolved organic carbon components (humic acid-like and UV fulvic acid-like) in the topsoil (0–5 cm). This study provides evidence that SS is an acceptable, and possibly preferred organic fertilizer for improving the soil quality and tree–grass growth of Mongolian pine plantations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Soil Interactions under Abiotic or Biotic Stresses)
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20 pages, 2388 KiB  
Article
The Functional Structure of Tropical Plant Communities and Soil Properties Enhance Ecosystem Functioning and Multifunctionality in Different Ecosystems in Ghana
by Frederick Gyasi Damptey, Klaus Birkhofer, Imma Oliveras Menor and Enrique G. de la Riva
Forests 2022, 13(2), 297; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13020297 - 12 Feb 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2778
Abstract
Plant functional traits are useful in tracking changes in the environment, and play an important role in determining ecosystem functioning. The relationship between plant functional traits and ecosystem functioning remains unclear, although there is growing evidence on this relationship. In this study, we [...] Read more.
Plant functional traits are useful in tracking changes in the environment, and play an important role in determining ecosystem functioning. The relationship between plant functional traits and ecosystem functioning remains unclear, although there is growing evidence on this relationship. In this study, we tested whether the functional structure of vegetation has significant effects on the provision of ecosystem services. We analysed plant trait composition (specific leaf area, leaf carbon and nitrogen ratio, isotopic carbon fraction, stem dry matter content, seed mass and plant height), soil parameters (nutrients, pH, bulk density) and proxies of ecosystem services (carbon stock, decomposition rate, invertebrate activity) in twenty-four plots in three tropical ecosystems (active restored and natural forests and an agroforestry system) in Ghana. For each plot, we measured above-ground biomass, decomposition rates of leaves and invertebrate activity as proxies for the provision of ecosystem services to evaluate (i) whether there were differences in functional composition and soil properties and their magnitude between ecosystem types. We further aimed to (ii) determine whether the functional structure and/or soil parameters drove ecosystem functions and multifunctionality in the three ecosystem types. For functional composition, both the leaf economic spectrum and seed mass dimension clearly separated the ecosystem types. The natural forest was more dominated by acquisitive plants than the other two ecosystem types, while the non-natural forests (agroforest and restored forest) showed higher variation in the functional space. The natural forest had higher values of soil properties than the restored forest and the agroforestry system, with the differences between the restored and agroforestry systems driven by bulk density. Levels of ecosystem service proxies and multifunctionality were positively related to the functional richness of forest plots and were mainly explained by the differences in site conditions. Our study demonstrated the effects of functional forest structure on ecosystem services in different forest ecosystems located in the semi-deciduous forest zone of Ghana. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Soil Interactions under Abiotic or Biotic Stresses)
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14 pages, 1448 KiB  
Article
Effects of Different Soils on the Biomass and Photosynthesis of Rumex nepalensis in Subalpine Region of Southwestern China
by Heliang He, Lan Yu, Xiaocheng Yang, Lin Luo, Jia Liu, Jing Chen, Yongping Kou, Wenqiang Zhao and Qing Liu
Forests 2022, 13(1), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13010073 - 5 Jan 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2062
Abstract
The performance of Rumex nepalensis, an important medicinal herb, varies significantly among subalpine grasslands, shrublands and forest ecosystems in southwestern China. Plant–soil feedback is receiving increasing interest as an important driver influencing plant growth and population dynamics. However, the feedback effects of [...] Read more.
The performance of Rumex nepalensis, an important medicinal herb, varies significantly among subalpine grasslands, shrublands and forest ecosystems in southwestern China. Plant–soil feedback is receiving increasing interest as an important driver influencing plant growth and population dynamics. However, the feedback effects of soils from different ecosystems on R. nepalensis remain poorly understood. A greenhouse experiment was carried out to identify the effects of different soil sources on the photosynthesis and biomass of R. nepalensis. R. nepalensis was grown in soils collected from the rooting zones of R. nepalensis (a grassland soil, RS treatment), Hippophae rhamnoides (a shrub soil, HS treatment), and Picea asperata (a forest soil, PS treatment). The chlorophyll contents, net photosynthetic rates, and biomasses of R. nepalensis differed significantly among the three soils and followed the order of RS > HS > PS. After soil sterilization, these plant parameters followed the order of RS > PS > HS. The total biomass was 16.5 times higher in sterilized PS than in unsterilized PS, indicating that the existence of soil microbes in P. asperata forest ecosystems could strongly inhibit R. nepalensis growth. The root to shoot biomass ratio of R. nepalensis was the highest in the sterilized PS but the lowest in the unsterilized PS, which showed that soil microbes in PS could change the biomass allocation. Constrained redundancy analysis and path analysis suggested that soil microbes could impact the growth of R. nepalensis via the activities of soil extracellular enzymes (e.g., β-1,4-N-acetylglucosaminidase (NAG)) in live soils. The soil total soluble nitrogen concentration might be the main soil factor regulating R. nepalensis performance in sterilized soils. Our findings underline the importance of the soil microbes and nitrogen to R. nepalensis performance in natural ecosystems and will help to better predict plant population dynamics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Soil Interactions under Abiotic or Biotic Stresses)
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12 pages, 2487 KiB  
Article
Anthropogenic Disturbances Shape Soil Capillary and Saturated Water Retention Indirectly via Plant Functional Traits and Soil Organic Carbon in Temperate Forests
by Shufang Liu, Zuoqiang Yuan, Arshad Ali, Anvar Sanaei, Zikun Mao, Fan Ding, Di Zheng, Shuai Fang, Zhaojie Jia, Zhao Tao, Fei Lin, Ji Ye, Xugao Wang and Zhanqing Hao
Forests 2021, 12(11), 1588; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12111588 - 18 Nov 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1987
Abstract
Soil’s water-physical properties support essential soil water retention functions for driving water distribution and availability, which is vital for plant growth and biogeochemical cycling. However, the question concerning how tree compositions and their interactions with other abiotic factors modulate soil’s water-physical properties in [...] Read more.
Soil’s water-physical properties support essential soil water retention functions for driving water distribution and availability, which is vital for plant growth and biogeochemical cycling. However, the question concerning how tree compositions and their interactions with other abiotic factors modulate soil’s water-physical properties in disturbed forests remains poorly understood. Based on observational data from nine permanent forest sites (18,747 trees and 210 plots) in the northeast of China, where forests once undergone three different levels of anthropogenic logging disturbance, we evaluated how multiple biotic (i.e., tree diversity and functional trait composition) and abiotic (soil texture and soil organic carbon) factors influence water-physical properties (i.e., in terms of soil capillary water retention (WC) and soil saturated water retention (WS)) in temperate forests. We found that the impacts of logging disturbance on soil water-physical properties were associated with improved tree diversity, acquisitive functional traits, and SOC. These associated attributes were also positively related to WC and WS, while there was no significant effect from soil texture. Moreover, disturbance indirectly affected soil water-physical properties mainly by functional traits and SOC, as acquisitive functional traits significantly mediate the effect from disturbance on WC and SOC mediates the influence from disturbance on WS. Finally, our results emphasize the potential relationships of tree composition with SOC and soil water retention as compared with soil texture and hence suggest that plants can actively modulate their abiotic contexts after disturbance, which is meaningful for understanding forest health and resistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Soil Interactions under Abiotic or Biotic Stresses)
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