Humus soil as a critical driver of flora conversion on karst rock outcrops
Rock outcrop is an important habitat supporting plant communities in karst landscape. However, information on the restoration of higher biotic populations on outcrops is limited. Here, we investigated the diversity, biomass changes of higher vascular plants (VP) and humus soil (HS) on karst outcrops during a restoration process. We surveyed VP on rock outcrops and measured HS reserved by various rock microhabitats in a rock desertification ecosystem (RDE), an anthropogenic forest ecosystem (AFE), and a secondary forest ecosystem (SFE) in Shilin County, southwest China. HS metrics (e.g. quantity and nutrients content) and VP metrics (e.g. richness, diversity and biomass) were higher at AFE than at RDE, but lower than at SFE, suggesting that the restoration of soil subsystem vegetation increased HS properties and favored the succession of VP on rock outcrops. There was significantly positive correlation between VP metrics and HS amount, indicating that the succession of VP was strongly affected by availability and heterogeneity of HS in various rock microhabitats. Thus, floral succession of rock subsystem was slow owing to the limited resources on outcrops, although the vegetation was restored in soil subsystem.
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|| Shen YX|
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