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Journal of Arid Land  2021, Vol. 13 Issue (10): 1071-1086    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0022-4
Research article     
Succession of soil bacterial and fungal communities of Caragana korshinskii plantation in a typical agro-pastoral ecotone in northern China over a 50-a period
MA Gailing1, GOU Qianqian1,*(), WANG Guohua1, QU Jianjun2
1College of Geographical Sciences, Shanxi Normal University, Linfen 041004, China
2Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese of Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
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Bacterial and fungal communities play critical roles in reestablishing vegetation structure, function and biodiversity in ecosystem restoration in arid and semi-arid areas. However, the long-term successional changes in bacterial and fungal communities that occur with artificial vegetation development are not fully understood. In this study, we investigated the successional changes in bacterial and fungal communities in Caragana korshinskii Kom. plantation over a period of 50 a (6, 12, 18, 40 and 50 a) and their relationships with key soil environmental factors in a typical agro-pastoral ecotone, northern China. The results showed that bacterial and fungal diversities (α- and β-diversity) were significantly affected by plantation age; moreover, the change in fungal community was more evident than that in bacterial community. Soil samples from 12 a plantation had the highest (P<0.05) bacterial and fungal α-diversity (i.e., abundance-based coverage estimator (ACE) and Chao1 index) at 0-10 cm depth compared with other samples. However, soil samples from plantation at the late recovery stage (40-50 a) had the highest α-diversity at 10-20 cm depth. Soil bacterial community was not significantly affected by plantation age at the genus level; but, soil fungal community was significantly affected at the genus level. Overall, Mortierella and Chaetomium were the dominant genera at natural recovery stage (0 a); Inocybe was the dominant genus at the early recovery stage (6-12 a); Inocybe and Mortierella were the dominant genera at the mid-recovery stage (12-40 a); And Mortierella, Cladosporium and Humicola were the dominant genera at the late recovery stage (40-50 a). Redundancy analysis (RDA) showed that β-glucosidase activity, total nitrogen and soil organic carbon were closely associated with bacterial community composition, while alkaline phosphatase, urease activity and total nitrogen were associated with fungal community composition, indicating that changes in enzyme activity and soil nutrients were the most important determinants of dominant genera. Furthermore, pathogenic microorganisms (Cladosporium and Humicola) were dominant in soils from 40-50 a plantation, which may affect plant growth, resulting in the decline of C. korshinskii plantation. Overall, the findings of this study improve the understanding of ecological patterns of bacterial and fungal communities in artificial vegetation and provide an important scientific basis for comprehensive ecological restoration management in arid and semi-arid areas.

Key wordsbacteria      fungi      diversity      dominant genus      ecological pattern      Caragana korshinskii     
Received: 05 July 2021      Published: 10 October 2021
Corresponding Authors: *GOU Qianqian (E-mail:
Cite this article:

MA Gailing, GOU Qianqian, WANG Guohua, QU Jianjun. Succession of soil bacterial and fungal communities of Caragana korshinskii plantation in a typical agro-pastoral ecotone in northern China over a 50-a period. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(10): 1071-1086.

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Index Plantation age
6 a 12 a 18 a 40 a 50 a
Crown (m2) 1.29±0.14c 2.12±0.16c 4.55±0.25c 8.22±0.52a 6.56±0.22b
Plant height (cm) 111.56±15.66d 131.35±16.85cd 178.47±37.20bcd 216.00±39.64a 202.50±6.97ab
Root biomass (kg/plant) 0.28±0.02d 0.32±0.01cd 0.34±0.03ab 0.36±0.01a 0.36±0.01a
Table 1 Changes in morphological characteristics and root biomass of Caragana korshinskii plantation at different ages
Fig. 1 Relative abundance of dominant bacteria (a and b) and fungi (c and d) at the phylum level. CK, control.
Fig. 2 Relative abundance of dominant bacteria (a and b) and fungi (c and d) at the class level. CK, control.
OTUs Affiliation Depth (cm) Relative abundance (%)
CK 6 a 12 a 18 a 40 a 50 a
1 Sphingomonadales,
0-10 18.1±1.4 19.5±3.3 13.3±2.0 14.6±1.4 12.8±1.4 16.1±1.3
10-20 14.0±3.6 7.9±2.1 4.1±0.7 5.4±0.6 6.2±1.0 7.1±0.9
2 Uncultured_bacterium_c_Subgroup_6,
0-10 9.0±0.4 7.9±0.4 10.0±0.3 9.3±0.5 9.7±0.3 10.7±0.5
10-20 10.0±0.2 8.9±0.2 10.3±0.4 9.4±0.7 10.0±0.3 10.9±0.2
3 Gemmatimonadales,
0-10 7.8±0.3 6.6±0.8 7.9±0.5 7.5±0.1 7.8±0.3 6.8±0.2
10-20 8.8±0.4 6.7±1.0 9.5±0.0 8.9±0.1 9.4±0.4 8.8±0.4
4 Blastocatellales,
0-10 5.1±0.0 5.3±0.2 5.4±0.6 4.8±0.5 5.4±0.3 5.4±0.2
10-20 4.5±0.4 4.0±0.1 4.1±0.3 3.2±0.1 3.9±0.2 4.9±0.3
5 Nitrosomonadales,
0-10 2.4±0.1 2.6±0.3 3.1±0.3 3.1±0.4 3.1±0.3 2.4±0.2
10-20 2.9±0.5 3.6±0.2 4.2±0.1 4.3±0.2 4.3±0.1 3.3±0.1
6 Actinobacteria,
Uncultured_batetiun _o_IMCC26256
0-10 2.6±0.2 2.5±0.1 2.8±0.2 2.9±0.3 2.7±0.1 2.1±0.1
10-20 2.1±0.1 2.9±0.0 2.8±0.2 3.1±0.2 2.8±0.1 2.5±0.2
7 Actinobacteria,
Uncultured_batetiun _c _MB-A2-108
0-10 2.3±0.4 2.3±0.1 2.7±0.5 2.3±0.2 2.6±0.3 1.5±0.1
10-20 3.5±0.6 4.7±0.3 5.6±0.3 5.7±0.4 5.2±0.4 4.2±0.4
Table 2 Dominant bacteria operational taxonomic units (OTUs) and their relative abundance at different plantation ages
Fig. 3 Relative abundance of dominant bacteria (a and b) and fungi (c and d) at the genus level. CK, control.
OUTs Affiliation Depth (cm) Relative abundance (%)
CK 6 a 12 a 18 a 40 a 50 a
1 Sordariales, Chaetomiaceae 0-10 11.2±0.6 17.2±7.1 6.6±1.4 10.3±5.6 8.2±2.5 10.8±3.1
10-20 15.5±2.6 3.6±0.8 7.1±1.5 6.7±2.8 10.9±3.1 17.6±5.9
2 Mortierellales, Mortierellaceae 0-10 7.2±1.3 2.6±0.7 12.6±3.0 13.1±5.9 11.7±2.7 17.1±1.3
10-20 16.9±8.9 1.8±0.1 10.9±2.6 5.4±2.0 11.8±3.9 9.7±1.6
3 Agaricales, Inocybaceae 0-10 2.3±1.2 9.4±2.9 6.8±5.3 11.6±6.5 11.1±6.3 0.7±6.3
10-20 5.2±2.5 37.0±17.9 10.9±10.0 12.9±10.2 24.0±13.0 0.8±0.3
4 Hypocreales, Nectriaceae 0-10 5.5±2.1 0.7±0.2 5.7±1.4 7.0±1.3 6.6±2.0 8.6±1.8
10-20 3.0±0.1 1.3±0.3 4.7±1.7 3.1±0.9 4.5±0.9 6.1±1.3
5 Pleosporales, Pleosporales_fam Incertaesedis 0-10 0.2±0.0 23.7±13.6 0.7±0.4 0.3±0.2 0.1±0.0 2.5±1.5
10-20 0.1±0.0 30.9±17.8 0.1±0.1 0.1±0.0 0.3±0.2 0.2±0.1
6 Cladosporiales, Cladosporiaceae 0-10 1.9±0.0 4.4±3.7 6.1±4.4 3.0±0.6 3.8±0.9 5.2±1.3
10-20 1.6±0.2 0.8±0.3 2.2±0.8 2.1±0.3 3.0±0.8 7.8±0.9
7 Thelephorales, Thelephoraceae 0-10 0.1±0.0 2.3±0.6 4.1±2.7 5.4±4.2 3.6 ± 1.6 0.4±0.3
10-20 0.3±0.1 2.4±0.1 7.2 ± 5.2 5.4±3.1 5.6 ± 2.8 0.4±0.3
Table 3 Dominant fungi operational taxonomic units (OTUs) and their relative abundance at different plantation ages
Fig. 4 Variations in ACE (a1-a4), Chao1 (b1-b4), Simpson (c1-c4) and Shannon (d1-d4) indices of bacterial and fungal communities. * and ** indicate significant difference among plantation ages at P<0.05 and P<0.01 levels, respectively. CK, control.
Fig. 5 β-diversity (binary Jaccard) of bacterial (a and b) and fungal (c and d) communities. "All between" represents the beta distance data of all samples between groups. CK, control.
Fig. 6 Changes in soil physical-chemical properties (a, soil moisture; b, soil salt content; c, pH value; d, soil organic carbon; e, total nitrogen; f, C:N ratio) of Caragana korshinskii plantation. Bars are standard errors. Different lowercase letters indicate significant differences among different plantation ages at P<0.05 level. CK, control.
Fig. 7 Changes in soil enzyme activities (a, β-glucosidase; b, alkaline phosphatase; c, urease) of Caragana korshinskii plantation. Bars are standard errors. Different lowercase letters indicate significant differences among different plantation ages at P<0.05 level. CK, control.
Fig. 8 Redundancy analysis (RDA) plots showing the relationships of bacterial (a) and fungal (b) communities with soil properties. SOC, soil organic carbon; TN, total nitrogen; ALP; alkaline phosphatase.
Fig. 9 Changes of fungi:bacteria ratio at different plantation ages
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