Pedosphere 27(2): 371--379, 2017
ISSN 1002-0160/CN 32-1315/P
©2017 Soil Science Society of China
Published by Elsevier B.V. and Science Press
Effects of seasonal and perennial grazing on soil fauna community and microbial biomass carbon in the subalpine meadows of Yunnan, Southwest China
LIU Shengjie1,2, YANG Xiaodong1, Anthony R. IVES3, FENG Zhili1,SHA Liqing1
1Key Laboratory of Tropical Forest Ecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mengla 666303 (China)
2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049 (China)
3 Department of Zoology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison WI 53706, (USA)
      Grazing and over-grazing may drive changes in the diversity and functioning of below-ground meadow ecosystems.A field soil survey was conducted to compare microbial biomass carbon (C$_{\min}$) and soil fauna communities in the two main grassland management systems in subalpine regions of Yunnan Province, China:perennial grazing currently practiced due to increasing herd sizes and traditional seasonal grazing. A three-year exclosure experiment was then conducted to further compare the effects of different grazing practices, including treatments of no mowing, perennial grazing (NM + G), mowing followed by seasonal grazing (M + G), mowing and no grazing (M + NG), and no mowing or grazing (NM + NG).The comparative survey result revealed that C$_{\min}$ and total density of soil fauna were significantly lower at a perennially grazed site than at a seasonally grazed site.The experiment results showed that in comparison to non-grazing treatments (M + NG and NM + NG), grazing (NM + G and M + G) reduced total fauna density (by 150 individuals m-2) and the number of taxonomic groups present (by 0.32 taxa m-2).Mowing decreased C$_{\min}$ (by 0.31 mg g-1). Furthermore, the NM + G treatment (perennial grazing) had the lowest density of Collembola (16.24 individuals m-2), one of the two most common taxonomic groups, although other taxonomic groups responded differently to the treatments.Treatment effects on soil fauna were consistent with those on above-ground grasses, in which C:N ratios were greatly reduced by grazing, with this effect being the greatest for the NM + G treatment.In contrast, different grazing treatments had little effect on C:N ratio of soil.Furthermore, the traditional grazing method (mowing followed by seasonal grazing) may have less severe effects on some taxonomic groups than perennial grazing. Therefore, an appropriate management should aim to protect soil fauna and microbes in this area from over-grazing and against further degradation.
Key Words:  grass nutrient, meadow ecosystems, mowing, plant and animal communities, soil microbes, over-grazing
Citation: Liu, S., Yang, X., Ives, R., Feng, Z. and Sha, L. 2017. Effects of seasonal and perennial grazing on soil fauna community and microbial biomass carbon in the subalpine meadows of Yunnan, Southwest China. Pedosphere. 27(2): 371-379.
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