Biodiv Sci ›› 2013, Vol. 21 ›› Issue (2): 206-213.  DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2013.08002

Special Issue: 土壤生物与土壤健康

• Original Papers • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Effect of leaf litter quantity and type on forest soil fauna and biological quality

Zhizhong Yuan1, Yang Cui2, Shaokui Yan2*   

  1. 1College of Biology and Environmental Science, Jishou University, Jishou, Hunan 416000

    2Huitong Experimental Station of Forest Ecology, Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang 110016
  • Received:2013-01-04 Revised:2013-03-14 Online:2013-03-20 Published:2013-04-02
  • Contact: Shaokui Yan


It is important to assess forest litter management. Here we examined the effects of leaf litter addition on the soil faunal community in Huitong subtropical forest region in Hunan Province, China. The microcosm
experiment involving leaf-litter manipulation using a block and nested experimental design, respectively, was established in May, 2011. In the block design, the effects of litter quantity and its control were examined, while in the nested design a comparison was made of litter quality by adding broad-leaved litter or needle litter to soils. In July, 2012, we measured the abundance, diversity, and community composition of soil fauna across these treatments. Significant differences in abundance of springtails were found due to litter addition and of Diptera larvae due to litter type treatment. However, the diversity, community composition and abundance of other taxa did not vary significantly across treatments. We also calculated soil biological quality based on soil fauna data. Its value increased significantly by 32.45% due to litter addition, but was unaffected by litter type based on nested ANOVA. The results indicate that litter quantity plays an more important role than litter type in determining soil quality in the earlier stages of soil evolution in the study region. Because soil biological quality based on soil fauna was more sensitive than abundance and diversity of soil fauna, we suggest it is used as an indicator for evaluating the effectiveness of forest litter management.