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Forests 2017, 8(11), 428; doi:10.3390/f8110428

Short-Term Effects of Low Intensity Thinning on the Fine Root Dynamics of Pinus massoniana Plantations in the Three Gorges Reservoir Area, China

1
Key Laboratory of Forest Ecology and Environment, State Forestry Administration, Research Institute of Forest Ecology, Environment and Protection, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091, China
2
Co-Innovation Center for Sustainable Forestry in Southern China, Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing 210037, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 August 2017 / Revised: 2 November 2017 / Accepted: 3 November 2017 / Published: 12 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Fine Roots in Changing Climate)
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Abstract

Fine roots play an important role in plant growth as well as carbon (C) and nutrient cycling in terrestrial ecosystems. Fine roots are important for understanding the contribution of forests to the global C cycle. Knowledge about this topic is still limited, especially regarding the effects of different forest management practices. This study investigated the seasonal dynamics of fine roots (<2 mm) in masson pine (P. massoniana) plantations for one year after low intensity thinning by using a sequential soil coring method. The fine roots showed pronounced seasonal dynamics, with a peak of fine root biomass (FRB) occurring in September. Significant differences were noted in the seasonal dynamics of FRB for the different diameter size sub-classes (≤0.5 mm, 0.5–1 mm and 1–2 mm); also FRB was inversely related to soil depth. Moreover, the FRB (≤0.5 mm and 0.5–1 mm except 1–2 mm) in the thinning plots was greater than that in the control only in the upper soil layer (0–10 cm). Furthermore, the FRB varied significantly with soil temperature, moisture and nutrients depended on the diameter sub-class considered. Significant differences in the soil temperature and moisture levels were noted between low-intensity thinned and control plots. Soil nutrient levels slightly decreased after low-intensity thinning. In addition, there was a more sensitive relationship between the very fine roots (diameter < 0.5 mm) and soil nutrients. Our results showed an influence of low-intensity thinning on the fine root dynamics with a different magnitude according to fine root diameter sub-classes. These results provide a theoretical basis to promote the benefits of C cycling in the management of P. massoniana forests. View Full-Text
Keywords: fine root biomass; seasonal dynamics; diameter sub-classes; The Three Gorges Reservoir area; Pinus massoniana fine root biomass; seasonal dynamics; diameter sub-classes; The Three Gorges Reservoir area; Pinus massoniana
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Shen, Y.; Wang, N.; Cheng, R.; Xiao, W.; Yang, S.; Guo, Y. Short-Term Effects of Low Intensity Thinning on the Fine Root Dynamics of Pinus massoniana Plantations in the Three Gorges Reservoir Area, China. Forests 2017, 8, 428.

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