Biodiv Sci ›› 2023, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (6): 22626.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2022626

• Original Papers: Animal Diversity • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Soil multitrophic ecological network structure of agroforestry rubber plantation in Xishuangbanna

Wenting Wang1,2,*(), Rong Wang3, Cuiping Niu3, Yang Bai1, Xiaodong Yang1,4   

  1. 1. Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mengla, Yunnan 666303
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
    3. Puer University, Puer, Yunnan 665000
    4. National Field Scientific Observation and Research Station of Forest Ecosystem in Ailao Mountain, Puer, Yunnan 665000
  • Received:2022-11-03 Accepted:2023-01-27 Online:2023-06-20 Published:2023-06-16
  • Contact: * E-mail:


Aims: Monoculture rubber plantations present a serious threat to regional biodiversity by reducing the ecological structure and function of terrestrial ecosystems in Xishuangbanna. The present research was conducted to (1) develop mitigation strategies to improve soil health under land use intensification and (2) to clarify the diversity and network complexity of soil multitrophic organisms under the influence of different land use types.

Methods: We set sampling sites in the following land use types: monoculture rubber plantation (MRP), rubber with Camellia sinensis (RCS), rubber with Flemingia macrophylla (RFM) and tropical rainforest (TRF). We collected soil samples in the dry (March) and wet (September) seasons. Soil physico-chemical properties, soil enzyme activities, litter mass and root mass were measured. Relevant soil organisms at the multitrophic level were selected for network analysis. Co-occurrence network analysis methods were used to elucidate the complexity of different trophic levels of biological networks in the different land use types.

Results: The results showed that: (1) richness of fungi and arthropods in rubber plantations was lower than tropical rainforest but bacteria and nematode were densely populated in RFM; (2) when examining samples collected in the dry season, when compared with MRP, the soil multitrophic biological network complexity of the RCS was significantly higher (the number of edges and nodes increased by 38.26% and 37.59%, respectively). Similarly, the proportion of soil arthropods increased in the network structure. The RFM, when compared to MRP, showed significant increase in the complexity of soil multitrophic biological network (the number of edges and nodes increased by 23.38% and 31.58%, respectively). When examining samples collected in the wet season, RFM showed significantly more connecting and modular centers dominated by herbivorous nematodes, root-knot nematodes, ectomycorrhiza and rhizobia; and (3) RFM showed significant increase in the total soil carbon and nitrogen content in dry season but increase in enzymatic activities of β-1,4-glucosidase and acid phosphatase in the wet season.

Conclusion: Our study provides a methodological approach that can accurately predict biological indicators of soil quality for agro-rubber forests. Moreover, we have generated a comprehensive dataset and technical support for the establishment and improvement of sustainable environmental-friendly rubber plantations.

Key words: Xishuangbanna, land use, agroforestry, soil biota diversity, ecological network