To What Extent Local Forest Soil Pollen Can Assist Restoration in Subtropical China?
Long-term ecological data play a vital role in ecological conservation and restoration, however, using information from local forest soil pollen data to assist restoration remains a challenge. This study analyzed two data sets, including 1) surface soil pollen (0–5 cm) and current vegetation data from four near-natural communities and four plantations, and 2) fossil pollen from soil profiles (0–80 cm) from a regional climax community and a degraded land. The pollen representativeness and similarity indexes were calculated. The results showed a low similarity between soil pollen and current vegetation (about 20%) thus forest soil pollen data should be used with caution when defining reference ecosystems. Pollen from Gironniera and Rutaceae which were abundant in broadleaved forest, were also detected in the 40–80 cm layer of a soil profile from the degraded land, which indicates its restoration possibility. Our study considered that the early restoration stage of the study area may benefit from using plant taxa of Pinus, Poaceae, Lonicera, Casuarina, Trema and Quercus. As Pinus, Castanopsis, Gironniera, Rutaceae, Helicia, Randia, Poaceae, Dicranopteris and Pteris always existed during succession, for regional forest restoration under global climate change, the roles of such “stable species” should be considered.