Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2016, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (8): 735-747.doi: 10.17521/cjpe.2015.0457

• Research Articles •     Next Articles

Relationship between ecosystem multifuntionality and species diversity in grassland ecosystems under land-use types of clipping, enclosure and grazing

Jing-Peng LI, Zhi-Rong ZHENG, Nian-Xi ZHAO, Yu-Bao GAO*()   

  1. College of Life Sciences, Nankai University, Tianjin 300071, China
  • Online:2016-08-23 Published:2016-08-10
  • Contact: Yu-Bao GAO


Aims Over the past twenty years, most biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (BEF) research has focused on the effects of species diversity on single or just a few ecosystem functions. However, ecosystems are primarily valued for their ability to maintain multiple functions and services simultaneously (i.e. multifunctionality here- after). This paper first introduced the constantly perfected concept of “multifunctionality”, and then tried to make some modifications to the current mainstream quantitative method in order to evaluate the multifunctionality of grassland communities with the management of clipping, enclosure and grazing in Inner Mongolia, investigating the relationship between the multifunctionality and species diversity. Methods In free grazing grassland, four sites were set and each site was divided into two parts to conduct enclosure and clipping management respectively. After seven years, 15 quadrats (1 m × 1 m) were established for each type of management in each site (total 60 quadrats for each type) using the regular arrangement method; as a control, we also established 20 quadrats (two sites) in grazing grassland. For each quadrat, we carried out plants census and collected soil mixture sample, measuring 16 soil variables, and then calculated the biodiversity indices and multifunctionality index (M-index) by means of factor analysis. Important findings The results showed that M-indexes by the two evaluation methods were strongly correlated at both quadrat and site scale, suggesting that our modified method was reliable. Over-grazed communities had the lowest biodiversity indices and their most soil indicators were also low, showing obvious degradation features. Enclosure and clipping communities (seven years) had higher biodiversity and better soil indicators. The rank of M-indexes was clipping community (0.2178) > enclosure community (0.0704) > grazing community (-0.8031). The vegetation was distributed mainly along the gradients of water and fertility. Among the biodiversity indices, evenness (Pielou) index and richness (Margelf) index were most strongly correlated with multifunctionality, and their explanatory power (R2) for M-index were higher at site scale (R2 = 0.5921, p = 0.0093; R2 = 0.7499, p = 0.0007) than at quadrat scale (R2 = 0.1871, p < 0.0001; R2 = 0.1601, p < 0.0001), indicating study scale played an important role in the determinants of multifunctionality. At both quadrat and site scales, M-indexes is a linear positive function with species evenness and a hump-shaped function of species richness. Therefore, in contrast to enclosure, clipping was more conducive to maintain the ecosystem multifunctionality in this region, and the ecosystem with moderate specie richness, where these species are evenly distributed might have better multifunctionality.

Key words: biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (BEF), redundance analysis, multifunctionality, species diversity, ecosystem function, land-use types

Fig. 1

Soil functional indexes in three communities with treatments of clipping, enclosure and grazing (mean ± SE). Same lowercase letters indicate non-significant difference between different communities. C, clipping community; E, enclosure community; G, grazing community. AN, available N; AP, aeration porosity; AvP, available P; BD, soil bulk density; BP, bulk porosity; CEC, cation exchange capacity; CMC, capillary moisture capacity; CP, capillary porosity; NCP, non-capillary porosity; OM, organic matter; SMC, soil moisture content; TC, Total C; TN, Total N; TP, total P."

Table 1

Community biodiversity indices under three treatments of clipping, enclosure and grazing (mean ± SE)"

样地 Sites 密度 Density
丰富度 Richness 多样性指数 Diversity index
Margalef Evenness Shannon-Wiener Simpson
放牧 Grazing 195.25 ± 15.31a 9.05 ± 0.38b 1.54 ± 0.07b 0.68 ± 0.02b 1.48 ± 0.05b 0.69 ± 0.02b
刈割 Clipping 262.80 ± 22.45a 13.08 ± 0.37a 2.31 ± 0.11a 0.83 ± 0.01a 2.12 ± 0.04a 0.83 ± 0.01a
围封 Enclosure 214.63 ± 16.87a 12.20 ± 0.40a 2.13 ± 0.06a 0.80 ± 0.01a 1.99 ± 0.04a 0.81 ± 0.01a

Fig. 2

The effect of soil factors on plant distribution patterns based on Redundance Analysis. AN, available N; AP, aeration porosity; AvP, available P; BD, soil bulk density; BP, bulk porosity; CEC, cation exchange capacity; CMC, capillary moisture capacity; CP, capillary porosity; NCP, non-capillary porosity; OM, organic matter; SMC, soil moisture content; TC, Total C; TN, Total N; TP, total P."

Fig. 3

The eigenvalues, percent of variance explained and factor loadings. Black bars indicate the factor loadings >0.6 or <-0.6. AN, available N; AP, aeration porosity; AvP, available P; BD, soil bulk density; BP, bulk porosity; CEC, cation exchange capacity; CMC, capillary moisture capacity; CP, capillary porosity; NCP, non-capillary porosity; OM, organic matter; SMC, soil moisture content; TC, total C; TN, total N; TP, total P."

Table 2

Factor scores and multifunctionality index in different communities"

群落 Community 因子得分 Factor score 多功能性指数
Multifunctionality index
因子1 Factor 1 因子2 Factor 2 因子3 Factor 3 因子4 Factor 4
放牧 Grazing -2.063 9b 0.453 0a -0.252 4b -0.497 5b -0.803 1
刈割 Clipping 0.384 5a 0.032 8ab 0.603 2a -0.169 8b 0.217 8
围封 Enclosed 0.347 1a -0.187 4b -0.484 9b 0.332 6a 0.070 4

Fig. 4

Relationships between multifunctionality and community evenness and Margalef index at quadrat and sites scale. A, B, site scale. C, D, quadrat scale. Diamonds represent grazing sites, circles represent enclosure sites and triangles represent clipping sites."

Fig. 5

Correlations between multifunctionality indexes calculated by two methods at quadrat and site scale. A, quadrat scale. B, site scale. 1), the multifunctionality index calculated by the author’method; 2), the multifunctionality index calculated by the method of Maestre et al. (2012a, 2012b). Diamonds represent grazing sites, circles represent enclosure sites and triangles represent clipping sites."

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