Journal of Arid Land

Article Title

Plantations of native shrub species restore soil microbial diversity in the Horqin Sandy Land, northeastern China


Caragana microphylla Lam., a leguminous shrub species, plays an important role in revegetation in the degraded ecosystems of the Horqin Sandy Land, Northeastern China. Large areas planted with this shrub have been artificially established as sand binders for soil protection, which might change the composition of soil bacterial communities with the development of sand dune stabilization. In this paper, we investigated the diversity and composition of native soil bacterial communities in the C. microphylla plantation for sand fixation using polymerase chain reaction with denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE) to understand the influence of this plantation on sandy soil ecosystem development. We collected soil samples from plantations with an age sequence of 0, 9, 16, and 26 years, as well as from the natural community, to identify the differences among soil bacterial communities. The result showed that bacterial abundance and community composition in the sandy land were affected by the age of the C. microphylla plantation. Moreover, bacterial diversity decreased with increasing plantation age, and the composition of the bacterial community in the 26-year plantation was similar to that in the natural community. Phylogenetic analysis of bands excised from the DGGE gels showed that members of alpha Proteobacterium, gamma Proteobacterium, Gemmatimonadetes and Chloroflexi were dominant in the sandy land. The stabilization of moving sand dune and development of sand-fixed plantation resulted in an increase of soil fertility, which could drive the structural evolvement of soil bacterial community, and it needs over 20 years for the soil bacterial community to form a stable structure, similar to the case for the natural vegetation.


soil bacteria; diversity; plantation age; denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis; Horqin Sandy Land

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