Recovery of Collembola in Pinus tabulaeformis plantations
Large areas of forest plantations have been developed in China. It is important to evaluate the soil fauna in plantations and the conditions needed for their recovery in view of the large areas of plantations in China. Three Pinus tabulaeformis forests, a 26-year-old plantation (P26) and a 45-year-old plantation (P45), exposed to clear-cutting before plantation, and an 80–260-year-old natural forest (N260), were chosen to study the effects of different forest ages/types on Collembola community in the litter and soil layers during 2008 and 2009. Soil conditions in P26 and P45 were significantly deteriorated when compared to N260. A higher value of soil bulk density and lower values of soil organic matter, soil N, litter depth, soil pH, and soil water content were observed in P26 and P45. Totally, the same genera of Collembola tended to occur in the forests of all ages studied; however, the Collembola community structure was significantly impacted by the differences in forest age. Both in the litter and soil layers, the density and generic richness of the Collembola were the highest in N260 and the lowest in P26. Some collembolan groups were sensitive to soil conditions in particular forest ages. N260 was associated with relatively high abundance of Plutomurus collembolans and P45 with relatively high abundance of Pseudofolsomia collembolans. The canonical correspondence analysis showed that the community structure of Collembola was mainly affected by forest age in both litter and soil layer. The ordination analysis of non-metric multidimensional scaling also found that the Collembola community did not recover to the level of natural forests in 26-year regeneration after clear-cutting. Even in 45-year regeneration after clear-cutting, the Collembola community only showed a slight recovery to the level of natural forests. Our results clearly showed that both Collembola community and soil conditions did not recover in 26- and 45-year regeneration after clear-cutting in P. tabulaeformis plantations; however, they might have the potential to recover in the future because the same genera of Collembola were distributed in the plantations and natural forests.