Estimating soil organic carbon (SOC) density and influence factors of tropical virgin forests in Hainan Island provide new insight in basic data for SOC pool estimation and its dynamics study.
The main distribution areas of tropical virgin forests in Jianfengling (JFL), Bawangling (BWL), Wu- zhishan (WZS), Diaoluoshan (DLS), Yinggeling (YGL) of Hainan Island were selected, and soil samples (0-100 cm) were sampled and analyzed. SOC density was estimated by soil vertical fitting method and soil stratification method to discover the distribution characteristics of soil organic carbon in tropical virgin forests of Hainan Island.
Results showed that: (1) The average SOC density using soil vertical fitting method in JFL, BWL, WZS, DLS and YGL was 14.98, 18.46, 16.48, 18.81, 16.66 kg·m-2, respectively, which was significantly higher (p < 0.05) than the estimated average SOC density using soil stratification method in these areas (14.73, 16.24, 15.50, 16.91, 15.03 kg·m-2, respectively). It is better to use soil vertical fitting method for SOC density estimation when the soil was natural without disturbance. (2) The proportion of SOC content in the first 0-30 cm depth interval out of SOC in the whole 0-100 cm soil profiles in JFL, BWL, WZS, DLS and YGL was 50.50%, 48.56%, 43.49%, 47.37%, 42.88%, respectively. (3) SOC density was significantly negative correlated with Shannon-Wiener index, Simpson index, species richness, and soil bulk density; and was significantly positive correlated with altitude, soil porosity, and soil nitrogen. However, SOC density was not significantly correlated to slope, biomass, average diameter at breast height, or average height. (4) Our study area Hainan was located in low latitude area with high rainfall and high temperature, which accelerated the decomposition of organic matter and nutrient recycling, resulting in significantly lower SOC densities in this tropical virgin forests of Hainan Island than the average value in China.