Status of soil nematode communities during natural regeneration of a subtropical forest in southwestern China

In: Nematology
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  • 1 1Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Biodiversity Science and Ecological Engineering, Institute of Biodiversity Science, School of Life Sciences, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, P.R. China
  • | 2 2Agri-Science Queensland, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Leslie Research Centre, 13 Holberton Street, P.O. Box 2282, Toowoomba, QLD 4350, Australia
  • | 3 3Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650223, China
  • | 4 4Department of Plant & Soil Science, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont 05405, USA
  • | 5 5Environmental Futures Research Institute, Griffith University, Nathan, QLD 4111, Australia
  • | 6 6Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering, the University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore, DC, QLD 4558, Australia
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Forest recovery has been extensively evaluated using plant communities but fewer studies have been conducted on soil fauna. This study reports the status of soil nematode communities during natural re-establishment after deforestation in a subtropical forest in southwestern China. Soil nematode communities of two secondary succession stages, shrub-grassland and secondary forest, were compared with those of virgin forest. Shrub-grassland had higher herbivore relative abundance but lower fungivore and bacterivore relative abundance than forests. Between secondary and virgin forest, the latter had higher abundance of bacterivores. Shrub-grassland had lower nematode diversity, generic richness, maturity index and trophic diversity index than virgin forest, whereas there were no differences in these indices between secondary forest and virgin forest. The small differences in nematode community structures between secondary forest and virgin forest suggest that soil nematode communities recovered to a level close to that of the undisturbed forest after up to 50 years of natural succession.

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