Forest ecosystems have great ecological values in mitigation of climate change and protection of biodiversity of flora and fauna; re-forestry is commonly used to enhance the sequestration of atmospheric CO2 into forest storage biomass. Therefore, seasonal and spatial dynamics of the major microbial players in nitrification, ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) and bacteria (AOB), in acidic soils of young and matured revegetated forests were investigated to elucidate the changes of microbial communities during forest restoration, and compared to delineate the patterns of community shifts under the influences of environmental factors. AOA were more abundant than AOB in both young and matured revegetated forest soils in both summer and winter seasons. In summer, however, the abundance of amoA-AOA decreased remarkably (p < 0.01), ranging from 1.90 (± 0.07) × 108 copies per gram dry soil in matured forest to 5.04 (± 0.43) × 108 copies per gram dry soil in young forest, and amoA-AOB was below detection limits to obtain any meaningful values. Moreover, exchangeable Al3+ and organic matter were found to regulate the physiologically functional nitrifiers, especially AOA abundance in acidic forest soils. AOB community in winter showed stronger correlation with the restoration status of revegetated forests and AOA community dominated by Nitrosotalea devanaterra, in contrast, was more sensitive to the seasonal and spatial variations of environmental factors. These results enrich the current knowledge of nitrification during re-forestry and provide valuable information to developmental status of revegetated forests for management through microbial analysis.
- Ammonia monooxygenase subunit A (amoA) gene
- Ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA)
- Ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB)
- Forest restoration
- Organic matter