Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2016, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (4): 282-291.doi: 10.17521/cjpe.2015.0199

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Spatial pattern of soil organic carbon of the main forest soils and its influencing factors in Guangxi, China

Hu DU1,2, Fu-Ping ZENG1,2,*(), Tong-Qing SONG1,2, Yuan-Guang WEN3, Chun-Gan LI3,4, Wan-Xia PENG1,2, Hao ZHANG1,2, Zhao-Xia ZENG1,2   

  1. 1Key Laboratory of Agro-ecological Processes in Subtropical Region, Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changsha 410125, China

    2Huanjiang Observation and Research Station of Karst Ecosystem, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Huanjiang, Guangxi 547100, China

    3Forestry College of Guangxi University, Nanning 530004, China

    4Guangxi Forest Inventory & Planning Institute, Nanning 530004, China
  • Received:2015-06-03 Accepted:2015-12-27 Online:2016-04-30 Published:2016-04-29
  • Contact: Fu-Ping ZENG


Our objectives were to study the spatial distribution of soil organic carbon (SOC) density and its influencing factors in the main forest ecosystems in Guangxi.
A total of 345 sample plots were established in Guangxi, and the size of each plot was 50 m × 20 m. Based on the forest resource inventory data and field investigation, the SOC storage of the main forests in Guangxi was estimated. Geostatistics was applied to analyze the spatial pattern of SOC density and the main influencing factors on SOC density were also explored by principal component analysis and stepwise regression.
Important findings
The total SOC storage in the main forests in Guangxi was 1686.88 Tg, and the mean SOC density was 124.70 Mg·hm-2, which is lower than that of China. The best fitted semivariogram model of SOC density was exponential model, and the spatial autocorrelation was medium. The contour map based on Kriging indicated that northeastern Guangxi had high SOC density and northwestern Guangxi had low SOC density, which corresponded to high SOC density in non-karst region and low SOC density in karst region. The SOC density followed the sequence of bamboo forest > deciduous broadleaf forest > warm coniferous forest > mixed evergreen and deciduous broadleaf forest > evergreen broadleaf forest, and yellow soil > red soil > lateritic red soil > limestone soil. The dominant environment factors affecting SOC density included soil depth, longitude, latitude, and altitude. Soil depth was the most influential factor, which was mainly attributed to the karst landscape.

Key words: soil organic carbon, spatial heterogeneity, influencing factor, forest type, Guangxi

Table 1

The forest types and main tree species in the study area"

林型(代码) Forest type (Code) 主要树种 Main tree species
松树林 Pine forest (A) 马尾松 Pinus massoniana
杉木林 China fir forest (B) 杉木 Cunninghamia lanceolata
桉树林 Eucalyptus forest (C) 尾叶桉 Eucalyptus urophylla、大桉 Eucalyptus grandis、巨尾桉 Eucalyptus grandis × urophylla
栎类林 Quercus forest (D) 青冈 Cyclobalanopsis glauca、麻栎 Quercus acutissima、白栎 Quercus fabri、大叶栎 Quercus griffithii
硬阔林 Hardwood forest (E) 格木 Erythrophleum fordii、蚬木 Excentrodendron hsienmu、金丝李 Garcinia paucinervis
软阔林 Softwood forest (F) 枫香树 Liquidambar formosana、喜树 Camptotheca acuminata、木荷 Schima superba、米老排 Mytilaria laosensis、栲树 Castanopsis taiwaniana
石山林 Forest in limestone (G) 青冈 Cyclobalanopsis glauca、肥牛树 Cephalomappa sinensis、香椿 Toona sinensis、任豆 Zenia insignis
金丝李 Garcinia paucinervis
竹林 Bamboo forest (H) 毛竹 Phyllostachys edulis、麻竹 Dendrocalamus latiflorus
八角林 Anise forest (I) 八角 Illicium verum
油茶林 Oil-tea forest (J) 油茶 Camellia oleifera

Fig. 1

The maps of sampling plots in Guangxi. Forest types see Table 1."

Table 2

Soil organic carbon density in different forest types with different stand ages in Guangxi"

Forest type
Young forest (I)
Middle-aged forest (II)
Near-mature forest (III)
Mature forest (IV)
Over-mature forest (V)
松树林 Pine forest 96.66bc 78.05c 115.28ab 136.52a 116.10ab
杉木林 China fir forest 149.24b 117.50b 206.62a 205.13a 204.73a
桉树林 Eucalyptus forest 106.06bc 141.56ab 164.94a 111.05bc 87.19c
栎类林 Quercus forest 72.26ab 90.84ab 84.39ab 47.91b 107.99a
硬阔林 Hardwood forest 250.17a 236.22ab 120.55b 325.94a 335.27a
软阔林 Softwood forest 124.29c 117.33bc 150.00bc 294.54a 178.55b
石山林 Forest in limestone 56.98a 67.76a 51.75a 71.09a 81.21a
竹林 Bamboo forest 138.09a 187.65a 128.19a
八角林 Anise forest 87.23b 147.85a 123.96ab
油茶林 Oil-tea forest 85.17a 103.85a 78.37a

Fig. 2

Soil organic carbon storage of different forest types with different stand ages in Guangxi. Forest types see Table 1."

Fig. 3

The proportion of soil carbon storage of each forest type out of total soil carbon storage in Guangxi. Forest types see Table 1."

Table 3

Variogram theory model of soil organic carbon (SOC) and their corresponding parameters"

指标 Index 理论模型
Theoretical model
Nugget (C0)
Still (C0 + C)
Nugget/Still (C0/ C0 + C (%))
Range (°)
Determination coefficient (R2)
SOC density
0.107 0.366 29.2 1.109 0.893

Fig. 4

Spatial distribution of soil organic carbon density of the main forests in Guangxi (Mg·hm-2)."

Fig. 5

Soil organic carbon (SOC) density under different vegetation types in Guangxi. I, II, III, IV, V represent evergreen broadleaf forest, mixed evergreen and deciduous broadleaf forest, deciduous broadleaf forest, warm coniferous forest and bamboo forest, respectively. Lines within the boxes give the median, and boxes give the 25th and 75th percentiles. Different small letters indicate significant difference (p < 0.05)."

Fig. 6

Relationship between the average diameter at breast high (DBH) and soil organic carbon (SOC) density of the main forests in Guangxi."

Fig. 7

Soil organic carbon (SOC) density under different soil types of the main forests in Guangxi. I, II, III, IV, V represent evergreen broadleaf forest, mixed evergreen and deciduous broadleaf forest, deciduous broadleaf forest, warm coniferous forest, and, bamboo forest, respectively. Lines within the boxes give the median, and boxes give the 25th and 75th percentiles. Different small letters indicate significant difference (p < 0.05)."

Table 4

Correlation coefficients between soil organic carbon (SOC) density and environment factors of forest in Guangxi"

Environment factor
SOC density
Annual mean air temperature
Soil depth
pH value
年平均气温 Annual mean air temperature -0.301**
年降水量 Annual precipitation 0.093 -0.034
海拔 Altitude 0.170** -0.201** -0.245**
经度 Longitude 0.285** -0.452** 0.340** -0.420**
纬度 Latitude 0.316** -0.817** -0.195** 0.426** 0.142**
土层深度 Soil depth 0.484** 0.054 0.292** -0.137* 0.340** -0.123*
pH值 pH value -0.038 -0.033 -0.050 -0.044 0.015 0.036 -0.148**
SOC content of surface soil
0.373** -0.354** -0.069 0.207** 0.078 0.370** -0.293** 0.311**

Table 5

Principal component analysis of the effects of environment factors on soil organic carbon (SOC) density in Guangxi"

Environment factor
Principal component 1
Principal component 2
Principal component 3
年平均气温 Annual mean air temperature -0.927 0.070 -0.167
年降水量 Annual precipitation -0.035 0.228 0.624
海拔 Altitude 0.402 0.116 -0.780
经度 Longitude 0.393 0.160 0.804
纬度 Latitude 0.910 -0.071 -0.201
土层深度 Soil depth -0.001 0.893 0.259
pH值 pH value 0.189 -0.896 -0.023
表层土壤SOC含量 SOC content of surface soil 0.517 -0.402 -0.032
方差贡献率 Variance contribution 28.845 23.300 22.270
累计贡献率 Accumulative contribution (%) 28.845 52.146 74.416
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