Journal of Resources and Ecology ›› 2022, Vol. 13 ›› Issue (3): 417-427.DOI: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2022.03.007

• Land Use and Sustainable Development • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Spatial Patterns of Soil Organic Matter, Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium in a Subtropical Forest and Its Implication for Forest Management

HAN Lili1(), LU Yuanchang2, MA Wu3, MENG Jinghui1,*()   

  1. 1. Research Center of Forest Management Engineering of National Forestry and Grassland Administration, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
    2. Institute of Forest Resource and Information Techniques, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091, China
    3. Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47906, USA
  • Received:2020-10-20 Accepted:2021-09-08 Online:2022-05-30 Published:2022-04-18
  • Contact: MENG Jinghui
  • About author:HAN Lili, E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    The National Key Research & Development Program of China(2016YFD060020501)


Total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorus (TP), total potassium (TK), and soil organic matter (OM) can significantly affect forest growth. However, these soil properties are spatially heterogeneously distributed, complicating the prescription of forest management strategies. Thus, it is imperative to obtain an in-depth understanding of the spatial distribution of soil properties. In this study, soils were sampled at 181 locations in the Tropical Forest Research Center in the southwestern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southern China. We investigated the spatial variability of soil OM, TN, TP, and TK using geostatistical analysis. The nugget to sill ratio indicated a strong spatial dependence of soil TN and a moderate spatial dependence of soil OM, TP, and TK, suggesting that TN was primarily controlled by intrinsic factors (e.g., soil texture, parent material, vegetation type, and topography), whereas soil OM, TP, and TK were controlled by intrinsic and extrinsic factors (e.g., cultivation practices, fertilization, and planting systems). Based on the spatial variability determined by the geostatistical analysis, we performed ordinary kriging to create thematic maps of soil TN, TP, TK, and OM. Model validation indicated that the thematic maps were reliable to inform forest management.

Key words: soil properties, spatial distribution, geostatistical analysis, ordinary kriging, spatial interpolation