Department of Biology

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Linjing Ren

Ecosystem restoration through aerial seeding: Interacting plant–soil microbiome effects on soil multifunctionality

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  • Qingfu Liu, Guizhou University, Inner Mongolia University
  • ,
  • Qing Zhang, Inner Mongolia University, China University of Mining & Technology, Beijing
  • ,
  • Scott Jarvie, East China Normal University
  • ,
  • Yongzhi Yan, Inner Mongolia University
  • ,
  • Peng Han, Inner Mongolia University
  • ,
  • Tao Liu
  • Kun Guo, Fujian Normal University
  • ,
  • Linjing Ren
  • Kai Yue, Zhengzhoug University of Light Industry
  • ,
  • Haiming Wu, Qufu Normal University
  • ,
  • Jingjing Du, Otago Regional Council
  • ,
  • Jianming Niu, Inner Mongolia University
  • ,
  • Jens Christian Svenning

Understanding the driving factors of soil multifunctionality is of great significance for the protection and restoration of degraded terrestrial ecosystems. However, the effects of above- and belowground factors are rarely evaluated simultaneously, and the driving mode of both factors on soil multifunctionality is not clear. Here, we evaluated the restoration of mobile dunes threatened by desertification through aerial seeding, that is, the sowing of seeds through aerial devices, from 1983 to 2015 in Mu Us Desert, China, using soil and plant data. The effect of aerial seeding on the restoration of soil multifunctionality, plant diversity, and soil microbial diversity in mobile dunes was significant, which was tested by loess regression. Further, the plant diversity becomes saturated in the later stages of restoration. The effect also leads to the restoration of soil multifunctionality lags behind plant and soil microorganisms. The factors (plant and soil microorganisms) driving soil multifunctionality is not a separate action or a joint action that test by structural equation models (SEMs), but that plants restore first and then indirectly drive soil multifunctionality through soil microorganisms during the restoration process. We also found that bacteria are the main direct indicators of soil multifunctionality, which was tested using Random forests modelling. This study highlights that plants indirectly drive soil multifunctionality through soil microorganisms, and soil microorganisms are key to elucidating the restoration mechanism and process.

Original languageEnglish
JournalLand Degradation and Development
Pages (from-to)5334-5347
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

    Research areas

  • aerial seeding, ecosystem restoration, plant restoration, soil microbiome, time lag

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