Call for papers: Special Issue on “Re-vegetation under Karst Rocky Desertification: A Plant-microbial-soil Interaction Perspective”

Plant and Soil is seeking submissions for a Special Issue on “Re-vegetation under Karst Rocky Desertification: A Plant-microbial-soil Interaction Perspective” guest edited by Weiyu Shi, Minggang Xu and Xinhua He. Extended Deadline for Submission: October 31, 2021. 

Special issue papers accepted for publication in the special issue will be available online very soon after acceptance, and before inclusion in the special issue. All manuscript will be peer-reviewed by 2-3 independent reviewers and handled by the Guest Editors, in collaboration with the Journal’s Section Editors.

The karst landscape, an irregular geomorphology or landform with sinkholes, underground streams, and caverns, mostly in limestone or carbonate areas, is one of the most fragile terrestrial ecosystems in the world. About 15%-20% of the word’s land areas are the highly sensitive and vulnerable karst ecosystem. A large part of the karst areas previously covered by vegetation has been turned into rocky landscapes, which are characterized by rocky desertification. The karst rocky desertification, the consequence of the degradation of both soil ecosystems and plant communities, has occurred in a number of countries or regions of the world including Belize, Guatemala, Mexico of North America, Israel of the Middle East, East and Southeast Asia, and Caribbean Island countries, particularly in the European Mediterranean Basin, Dinaric Karst and Southwest China. Various ecological restoration strategies or practices in different countries or regions including revegetation, land development, water and soil conservation/management, soil quality improvement, have been adopted to combat such a severe rocky desertification or land degradation. Essentially, the core of all these strategies is the recovery and health of vegetation and soil for controlling the karst rocky desertification.

The karst soil is unique to multiple ecological and chemical properties for growing vegetation as it is characterized by relatively high soil pH, Ca, Mg and unexpected abundant organic matter, although the soil depth is only 10-30 cm thin on the slope. Yet, numerous algae, lichens, mosses, ferns, grasses and woody plants growing on such shallow karst soils can enhance rock weathering, soil fertility, and maintain the relevant micro-biota. A success re-vegetation is therefore manipulated by interactions among plants, microbes and soil in the harsh karst environment.

This special issue will gather re-vegetation studies against the Karst Rocky Desertification while focusing on interactions among plant, microbe and soil (see a conceptual diagram below). It welcomes studies that will improve our understanding of plant physiological responses to karst soil processes including geochemical process, water and soil conservation, soil microbial functioning, etc., during the re-vegetation.The state-of-art technologies including stable and radioactive isotopes, molecular biological techniques, physical probes (heat pulse or diffuse), even remote sensing technology and big data or meta-analysis are also expected for quantifying the interactive mechanisms in plant-microbial-soil systems under the Karst Rocky Desertification scenarios.

Important Submission Information:

To submit a manuscript for this special issue, authors should follow the steps below:

a. Authors submit their paper through the following website

b. In the “Select an Article Type” step, authors must select “Special Issue S85 – Karst” from the dropdown menu.

c. In the “Enter Comments” step, authors must type the following comment in the box: “This manuscript is intended for Special Issue S85 – Karst”. Other comments related to the manuscript may be added after the aforementioned paragraph.


If you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact the Editor in Chief ( or the Managing Editor (

>> Submit online