Sci Rep. 2022 Aug 29;12(1):14712. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-18260-2.
Carbon storage in wetland ecosystems is an important part of the carbon cycle of terrestrial ecosystems and provides important ecosystem services. Chaohu Wetland is a typical freshwater lake wetland in China. In this study, soil and plant samples were collected every 500 m through three sample lines of different vegetation habitats (estuarine banks, woodlands and shrub beaches) and different offshore distances, revealing the spatial distribution characteristics of soil organic carbon density (SOCD) in Chaohu wetland. The overall SOCD of Chaohu wetland was low, with different habitats ranking as Woodland > Estuary and riverside > Shrub and beach. SOCD of different offshore distances had no obvious law, and the SOCD decreased significantly with soil depth. The plant biomass was significantly higher at the woodland habitat than at other habitats. Most of soil nutrient indicators were the highest at the woodland habitat, while the estuary-riverside habitat had the highest N and P contents. Soil and plant nutrients at different offshore distances had no obvious change patterns. The contents of soil K, Ca, Mg, and N were significantly positively correlated with SOCD, but soil bulk density and pH were significantly negatively correlated with SOCD, and vegetation P content was significantly negatively correlated with SOCD. The spatial pattern of SOCD changes in this lake coastal wetland was determined by the combined effects of plant nutrients, biomass, and soil physical and chemical properties. Our results indicate Chaohu wetlands may have been experiencing serious degradation. The SOCD of Chaohu wetland is lower than that of other wetlands in China, which is mainly affected by human activities. Different offshore distances and habitat heterogeneity are the main factors affecting the soil carbon cycle of the wetland.