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International Journal of Ecology
Volume 2014, Article ID 615348, 6 pages
Research Article

Responses of Soil Organic Carbon to Long-Term Understory Removal in Subtropical Cinnamomum camphora Stands

Institute of Subtropical Forestry, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Daqiao Road No. 73, Fuyang, Zhejiang 311400, China

Received 12 February 2014; Revised 11 May 2014; Accepted 16 June 2014; Published 3 July 2014

Academic Editor: L. M. Chu

Copyright © 2014 Yacong Wu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We conducted a study on a 48-year-old Cinnamomum camphora plantation in the subtropics of China, by removing understory gradually and then comparing this treatment with a control (undisturbed). This study analyzed the content and storage soil organic carbon (SOC) in a soil depth of 0–60 cm. The results showed that SOC content was lower in understory removal (UR) treatment, with a decrease range from 5% to 34%, and a decline of 10.16 g·kg−1 and 8.58 g·kg−1 was noticed in 0–10 cm and 10–20 cm layers, respectively, with significant differences ( ). Carbon storage was reduced in UR, ranging from 2% to 43%, with a particular drastic decline of 15.39 t·hm−2 and 11.58 t·hm−2 in 0–10 cm ( ) and 10–20 cm ( ) layers, respectively. Content of SOC had an extremely significant ( ) correlation with soil nutrients in the two stands, and the correlation coefficients of CK were higher than those of UR. Our data showed that the presence of understory favored the accumulation of soil organic carbon to a large extent. Therefore, long-term practice of understory removal weakens the function of forest ecosystem as a carbon sink.