Throughfall, stemflow, evapotranspiration and infiltration are likely to vary with forest types, and consequently affect soil moisture regimes in different soil layers. In this study, the spatial and temporal characteristics of soil moisture were investigated to understand variations in soil moisture in three typical forests, including Phyllostachys pubescens forest (abbreviated as PPF), Schima superba forest (abbreviated as SSF) and Cunninghamia lanceolata forest (abbreviated as CLF) in the upper reaches of Lijiang River basin in southern China. The results showed that, (1) Litterfall and soil physical properties differed significantly in the three typical forests. Infiltration capacity in SSF was more favorable to soil moisture than in PPF and CLF. (2) Large variations were found in soil moisture at different forest stands and depths. Due to complicated vertical structures, there were obvious differences in soil moisture from the 0–20 cm soil layer to the 50–80 cm soil layer. (3) Average soil moisture in each layer was higher in SSF than in PPF and CLF. (4) Soil moisture in different layers correlated closely with precipitation (P<0.01) and the three typical forests had the same change trends with rainfall during the studying period. (5) In topsoil, soil moisture was influenced by soil properties which were mostly determined by litterfall, while in deep soil, soil moisture was affected by variations of soil characteristics, which were mostly determined by root distribution. This study provides a scientific basis for better understanding the relationships between forest vegetation and its hydrological effects, helping to facilitate water resources conservation and achieving wise forest management in the upper reaches of Lijiang River basin.
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Vol. 10 • No. 3