Effects of enriched planting of native tree species on surface water flow, sediment, and nutrient losses in a Eucalyptus plantation forest in southern China.

Affiliation

Earth, Environmental and Geographical Sciences, University of British Columbia (Okanagan Campus), Kelowna, British Columbia V1V1V7, Canada. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Enriched planting of native tree species in monoculture plantation forests is a commonly recommended forest practice. However, its effect on various ecological processes is generally lacking. Here, we carried out an experiment in a 16-year-old Eucalyptus plantation in South China to assess the effects of enriched planting of native tree species on surface water, soil erosion and nutrient losses. Two treatments were conducted in 2008: (1) enriched planting of native broadleaved tree species with uniform thinning of 60% of Eucalyptus trees (TEP); and (2) enriched planting of native broadleaved tree species without thinning (NEP). The original Eucalyptus plantation stands was used as the control (CK). Runoff plots (total n=9, 3 for each treatment or CK) were established in 2009, and surface water flow, sediment, nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) losses were monitored from major rainfall events in 2010-2012. Results showed that enriched planting in Eucalyptus plantation significantly reduced surface water flow and soil erosion. Compared with CK, TEP and NEP reduced annual surface water flow by 29-43% and 11-16%, and reduced annual soil erosion by 38-54% and 20-33% throughout the study period, respectively. TEP and NEP had significantly lower annual mean concentrations of N and P in surface water. Compared with CK, TEP reduced annual N and P losses through surface water by 42-60% and 44-64%, respectively, while NEP reduced them by 25-28% and 24-34%, respectively. N and P losses were significantly related to surface water flow. Between the two treatments, TEP was better for retaining water and soil, and for preventing nutrient loss. These results clearly demonstrated that the enriched planting of native tree species effectively retained surface water and nutrients.

Keywords

Enriched planting,Eucalyptus forests,Native tree species,Nutrient loss,Soil erosion,Surface water flow,

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