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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014, Article ID 913852, 12 pages
Research Article

Soil Diversity as Affected by Land Use in China: Consequences for Soil Protection

1State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, College of Global Change and Earth System Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
2Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Earth System Modeling, Center for Earth System Science, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
3Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
4Joint Center for Global Change Studies, Beijing 100875, China
5School of Geography, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China

Received 21 April 2014; Revised 17 July 2014; Accepted 5 August 2014; Published 27 August 2014

Academic Editor: Antonio Paz González

Copyright © 2014 Wei Shangguan 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.


Rapid land-use change in recent decades in China and its impact on terrestrial biodiversity have been widely studied, particularly at local and regional scales. However, the effect of land-use change on the diversity of soils that support the terrestrial biological system has rarely been studied. Here, we report the first effort to assess the impact of land-use change on soil diversity for the entire nation of China. Soil diversity and land-use effects were analyzed spatially in grids and provinces. The land-use effects on different soils were uneven. Anthropogenic soils occupied approximately 12% of the total soil area, which had already replaced the original natural soils. About 7.5% of the natural soil classes in China were in danger of substantial loss, due to the disturbance of agriculture and construction. More than 80% of the endangered soils were unprotected due to the overlook of soil diversity. The protection of soil diversity should be integrated into future conservation activities.