Effects of Afforestation on Plant Diversity and Soil Quality in Semiarid SE Spain

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Segura, C., Jimenez, M. N., Fernandez-Ondono, E. and Navarro, F. B. 2021. Effects of Afforestation on Plant Diversity and Soil Quality in Semiarid SE Spain. Forests. 12 (12), p. 1730. https://doi.org/10.3390/f12121730

AuthorsSegura, C., Jimenez, M. N., Fernandez-Ondono, E. and Navarro, F. B.
Abstract

Farmland afforestation has been promoted in recent decades and is one of the main strategies included in the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration to recover degraded areas. However, the impacts of afforestation on plant diversity and soil quality indicators are still not well-understood in semiarid environments. In this study, we assessed the relationships between plant diversity indicators (abundance, total richness, richness by functional groups, and Shannon diversity) and a large number of variables in 48 afforestation sites in southeast Spain. We considered associated environmental factors, such as geographical, climatic or edaphic variables, age, and land-use history. We compared plant diversity and soil properties following land-use change from cereal cropping to afforestation, which is one of the most common land-use changes in Mediterranean areas. Plant diversity in afforested sites was found to be dependent on previous land use, the proximity of natural vegetation, several soil properties (texture, pH, and total nitrogen), and plantation age. Afforested soils showed higher plant diversity and an improvement in edaphic parameters related to multifunctionality in semiarid ecosystems (i.e., soil organic carbon, nitrogen, and potassium) than arable cropped soils.

KeywordsActive restoration; Functional groups; Plant richness; Soil properties; Land-use change; Mediterranean region; UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration
Year of Publication2021
JournalForests
Journal citation12 (12), p. 1730
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.3390/f12121730
Web address (URL)https://www.mdpi.com/1999-4907/12/12/1730/htm
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Publisher's version
Supplemental file
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online08 Dec 2021
Publication process dates
Accepted06 Dec 2021
PublisherMDPI
ISSN1999-4907

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