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Table of Content
    Volume 43 Issue 1
    20 January 2019
    Landscape of riparian zone at Xingping Town along Lijiang River reaches, Guilin, Guangxi, Southwest China (Photographed by LIANG Shi-Chu). In this riparian zone, Liang et al. studied the patterns of variation and correlation of plant functional traits at species and community levels along the gradients of upstream, midstream and downstream (Pages 16–26 of this issue).
    Research Articles
    Species richness patterns and resource plant conservation assessments of Rosaceae in China
    Dong-Ting ZOU, Qing-Gang WANG, Ao LUO, Zhi-Heng WANG
    Chin J Plant Ecol. 2019, 43 (1):  1-15.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2018.0091
    Abstract ( 1593 )   HTML ( 25 )   PDF (1557KB) ( 190 )   Save
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    Aims Rosaceae is a widely-distributed family with numerous economic resource plants in China. However, the species richness pattern and the current conservation status of resource plants remain poorly evaluated. Here we aim to identify the economic resource plants of Rosaceae in China, estimate the species richness patterns for all Rosaceae plants combined and for different resource groups and evaluate the relationships between species richness patterns and environmental variables. We also evaluate the current conservation status of economic resource plants of Rosaceae.
    Methods We first made the species list of all 914 Rosaceae species in China and identified the species with different economic usages, including edible, ornamental, medicinal plants and fruit germplasm resources. We then collected high-resolution distribution maps of all Rosaceae species, estimated the species richness patterns by overlapping these maps, and identified the diversity hotspots of different species groups. With high-resolution environmental data, we compared the effects of different environmental variables on the species richness and species composition of all Rosaceae species combined and the four main resource groups using generalized linear models (GLM) and redundancy analysis (RDA). Finally, we evaluated the conservation status of Rosaceae with distribution data overlaid by maps of nature reserves of China in ArcGIS.
    Important findings 1) The species richness hotspots of Rosaceae in China are mainly located in the mountain areas in the north, east and west of Sichuan basin as well as Hengduan Mountains. 2) Species richness patterns of Rosaceae are mainly determined by humidity factors. 3) Poorly protected species are mainly in Hengduan Mountains, Southeast Yunnan and Xizang, and concentrated in the genus of Rubus.

    Variation and correlation of plant functional traits in the riparian zone of the Lijiang River, Guilin, Southwest China
    LIANG Shi-Chu, LIU Run-Hong, RONG Chun-Yan, CHANG Bin, JIANG Yong
    Chin J Plant Ecol. 2019, 43 (1):  16-26.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2018.0119
    Abstract ( 383 )   HTML ( 11 )   PDF (3109KB) ( 79 )   Save
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    Aims Patterns of variation in plant functional traits and the correlation among them are important for understanding species coexistence and the maintenance of biodiversity. Our objectives in this study were to understand how variation and correlation of plant functional traits, at both the species and community levels, influence 1) plants adaptation to changing environments, and 2) the mechanisms of community assembly.
    Methods We investigated species composition of riparian plant communities in 36 plots along the longitudinal gradient (represented by upstream, midstream, downstream) of the Lijiang River, Guilin, Southwest China. We measured three functional traits for 42 woody plant species: leaf area (LA), specific leaf area (SLA), and wood density (WD). For each plant community, we calculated 1) species abundance-weighted mean community trait values, and 2) species-level mean trait values. For each of these calculations, we used trait-gradient analysis to partition the three traits into alpha and beta components. We then conducted Pearson correlations to analyze the relationships among the three traits along the longitudinal gradient. Finally we tested the strength of environmental filtering using a null model that generates randomly assembled communities with species richness given by observed values.
    Important findings The species abundance-weighted mean community value of LA was lowest in the midstream communities, which was significantly different from that in the downstream communities. The mean community value of WD for midstream and upstream communities was significantly higher than that for downstream communities. Mean community value of SLA was significantly different among the three reaches. The beta components of the three functional traits significantly differed among the three reaches and had observed values that are, on average, lower than simulated values. However, alpha components for all three traits were not significantly different among the three reaches and had consistently lower variation than beta components. This implies that the variation in the mean community trait value across plots was greater than trait variation between species within plots. The observed and simulated values of the alpha components for both LA and SLA were weakly correlated with each other within and among communities, which suggests that there are independent axes of differentiation among coexisting species. On the other hand, comparisons between observed and simulated values indicated that significantly negative correlations between SLA and WD were largely the result of strong environmental filters. Finally, these results imply that variation of plant functional traits is greater among communities than within communities.

    Relationships of radial growth with climate change in larch plantations of different stand ages and species
    WEN Xiao-Shi, CHEN Bin-Hang, ZHANG Shu-Bin, XU Kai, YE Xin-Yu, NI Wei-Jie, WANG Xiang-Ping
    Chin J Plant Ecol. 2019, 43 (1):  27-36.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2018.0155
    Abstract ( 343 )   HTML ( 7 )   PDF (1127KB) ( 66 )   Save
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    Aims This study examined how climatic conditions, tree species and stand factors (i.e. stand age, stem density, and wood volume, etc.) affected the tree growth-climate relationships in larch plantations.
    Methods The dendroecological method was used to determine the relative effects of climatic condition, tree species, site quality and stand factors on tree growth in larch plantations in response to climate change in Caohekou and Wandianzi of Liaoning Province, China.
    Important findings The effects of potential evapotranspiration (PET) were strongest among all the variables in explaining the tree growth-climate relationships. Stand age, tree density and wood volume were also important factors influencing growth-climate relationships. Climate warming had differential effects on radial growth in plantations of different stand ages: while the growth of mid-age stands were positively correlated with temperature, the growth of mature stands had a negative response to warming, possibly due to increased susceptibility to warming-induced water stress with stand age. Tree species and site quality were weak modulators of growth- climate relationships in this study. Our finding of the negative impact of climate warming on mature larch plantations highlights the need to explore management methods in larch plantations for better adaptation to future climate change.

    Effects of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi on the root growth of male and female Populus cathayana individuals grown under different sexual combination patterns
    GAO Wen-Tong, ZHANG Chun-Yan, DONG Ting-Fa, XU Xiao
    Chin J Plant Ecol. 2019, 43 (1):  37-45.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2018.0261
    Abstract ( 478 )   HTML ( 1 )   PDF (2235KB) ( 62 )   Save
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    Aims Accumulating evidence suggests that arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) can promote the growth of plant roots. However, the effects of AMF on the root growth of dioecious plants, particularly those grown under different sexual combination patterns, remain largely unknown, this study therefore aimed at improving our understanding of the roles of AMF in these systems.
    Methods In the present study, homogenized soil (river sand:surface soil:vermiculite = 1:1:1, volume ratio) was used as growth substrate. The Populus cathayana saplings uninoculated and inoculated with AMF under three sex combination patterns (male vs. male, MM; female vs. female, FF; male vs. female, MF) were defined as control (CK) and AMF treatment group, respectively. Subsequently, we compared the differences in colonization rate, root dry mass, root morphology, carbon (C) content and nitrogen (N) content between CK and AMF treatments under different sexual combination patterns.
    Important findings Our results indicated that colonization rate, root dry mass, root morphology (except root branching intensity, specific root surface area) and C, N content were remarkably altered upon inoculation with AMF in comparison to uninoculated controls. Furthermore, the sexual combination patterns were shown to significantly affect root dry mass, root morphology and C, N content of male and female P. cathayana. After inoculation with AMF, root dry mass, root morphology and N content of female individuals were increased whereas these parameters of males were decreased or slightly increased in inter-sexual groups compared with the respective intra-sexual groups. Collectively, our data demonstrate the growth-promoting effects of AMF on the roots of P. cathayana individuals grown under different sexual combination patterns, and such beneficial effects are most pronounced in females grown under inter-sexual combination patterns.

    Nitrogen and phosphorus stoichiometric homoeostasis in leaves of dominant sand-fixing shrubs in Horqin Sandy Land, China
    NING Zhi-Ying, LI Yu-Lin, YANG Hong-Ling, ZHANG Zi-Qian
    Chin J Plant Ecol. 2019, 43 (1):  46-54.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2018.0100
    Abstract ( 364 )   HTML ( 0 )   PDF (1239KB) ( 51 )   Save
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    Aims Sand-fixing shrubs play an irreplaceable role in ecological restoration and eco-environmental protection in arid and semiarid regions of northern China. Determination of the stoichiometric homoeostasis of dominant sand-fixing shrubs along soil nutrient gradients could provide insights into ecological adaptability and pattern of changes of sand-fixing vegetation in Horqin Sandy Land.
    Methods We measured N and P concentrations in leaves of two dominant sand-fixing shrubs Caragana microphylla and Artemisia halodendron, and the total and available N and P concentrations in soils beneath the canopy of each shrub. The differences between the two shrubs in N and P concentrations and N:P of leaves and soils as well as in stoichiometric homoeostasis were examined.
    Important findings Caragana microphylla had higher leaf N concentration and lower leaf P concentration, thereby higher leaf N:P, than A. halodendron. Soils beneath the shrub canopies, regardless of the species, had higher total and available N and P concentrations relative to soils outside the canopy cover. Moreover, the total and available N and P concentrations in soils beneath the C. microphylla canopy were higher than that beneath the A. halodendron canopy. The stoichiometric homoeostasis indexes (H) were ranked in the order of HP > HN:P > HN in A. halodendron and HN:P > HN > HP in C. microphylla, respectively, suggesting N limitation in A. halodendron and P limitation in C. microphylla. Therefore, Caragana microphylla could be used as nursing plants in degraded N-limiting soil because of high HN. However, due to excessive uptake of N, Caragana microphylla might suffer from P limitation, and adequate P supply should be considered during the restoration process in sandy land.

    Effects of forest canopy condition on the establishment of Castanopsis fargesii seedlings in a subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest
    WU Xiao-Qi, YANG Sheng-He, HUANG Li, LI Xiao-Han, YANG Chao, QIAN Shen-Hua, YANG Yong-Chuan
    Chin J Plant Ecol. 2019, 43 (1):  55-64.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2018.0275
    Abstract ( 294 )   HTML ( 2 )   PDF (1332KB) ( 48 )   Save
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    Aims The establishment of seedlings is a key life-history stage during the regeneration of plant populations. This study is to investigate the effects of forest canopy condition (large-sized gap: >150 m 2, medium-sized gap: 100-150 m 2, small-sized gap: 50-100 m 2, and understory as control) on the establishment of Castanopsis fargesii seedlings, and to guide in situ management and restoration of subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forests.
    Methods We conducted a 3-year in situ seed sowing experiment in the Jinyun Mountain National Nature Reserve under different canopy conditions, and monitored the growth and survival of C. fargesii seedlings for three years (2014-2016).
    Important findings We found that: (1) the emergence of the seedlings lasted from July to December, and the emergence of seedlings was delayed under large canopy gaps; (2) overall germination rate was (62.8 ± 2.0)%. The averaged survival rate during three growing seasons was (65.1 ± 2.2)%, with wither being the key type of seedling mortality; (3) there was no significant difference in the germination and survival rates under different canopy conditions in 2014, but significant difference in the survival rates in 2015 and 2016; (4) seedling growth among canopy conditions showed no difference in 2014, but distinct differences in 2015 and 2016. The seedling growth in large- and medium-sized gaps was significantly promoted compared with those growing under closed canopies in terms of total biomass, plant height, base diameter, root length and leaf number (except for the specific leaf area); (5) for each of the four types of canopy conditions, leaf mass ratio (LMR) and stem mass ratio (SMR) of seedlings growing increased within last three years, while root mass ratio (RMR) and root shoot ratio (RSR) decreased. The LMR in large-sized gaps was significantly higher than those in closed canopies, but not for the RMR and RSR. The results suggested that the initial survival and growth of C. fargesii seedlings may be supported by the nutrients stored in seeds, and thus less affected by canopy conditions. However, in late-establishment stages (i.e., the second and third years), gap size could become a key factor in affecting both the seedling survival and growth. And large- and medium-sized gaps could promote the seedling establishment success for C. fargesii.

    Reproductive characteristics of Artemisia scoparia and the analysis of the underlying soil drivers in a desert steppe of China
    CHEN Lin, WANG Lei, YANG Xin-Guo, SONG Nai-Ping, LI Yue-Fei, SU Ying, BIAN Ying-Ying, ZHU Zhong-You, MENG Wen-Ting
    Chin J Plant Ecol. 2019, 43 (1):  65-76.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2018.0211
    Abstract ( 258 )   HTML ( 0 )   PDF (14190KB) ( 39 )   Save
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    Aims Reproduction is an important part of plant life activities, and thus the reproductive characteristics of plants play an important role in explaining the ecological adaptability of plants as well as developing effective management strategy plans. The aims of this study are to explore the reproductive characteristics of Artemisia scoparia and analyze its main soil driving factors in a desert steppe of China.
    Methods As a method to extract and summarize the variation in a set of response variables, the redundancy analysis can be explained by a group of explanatory variables. In the present study, we selected the A. scoparia population in a desert steppe, and examined physicochemical properties of different soil types and reproductive characteristics of A. scoparia with the redundancy analysis.
    Important findings There were significant differences in water-soluble carbon content (Cws), total nitrogen content (TN), total phosphorus content (TP), total salt content (TS), soil moisture (Ms) and soil hardness (SH) of calcareous soil (SS), aeolian sand soil (ASS) and weathered residual soil (WB). The average mass (Ma), the number (Ni) of average individual head inflorescence, and the average individual size (Sai) of a single plant were the largest in the SS habitat, followed by ASS and WB. No significant difference was observed in reproductive allocation (Ra) of A. scoparia in different soil types. An extremely significant positive correlation was observed between Ra and the quality of single capitate inflorescence (Me), Ni and Ma, respectively, while Ni was negatively correlated with Me. The variation of the reproductive characteristics of A. scoparia was mainly affected by soil water soluble carbon content (Cws), soil hardness (SH), soil moisture (Ms), TP and available phosphorus content (AP) in WB habitat. Ma was mainly affected by Cws, Ms and pH value; Ni was mainly affected by total salt content (TS); Ra and Me were mainly affected by total carbon content (Ct) in the ASS habitat. Ma was positively correlated with Cws, Ms and Co, while the correlation between Ma and Co was not significant; Ni was significantly affected by available nitrogen content (AN) in the SS habitat. A comprehensive analysis of the three soil types showed that the total explanatory amount of soil factors affecting the reproductive characteristics of A. scoparia was 30.74%. Ma and Ni were significantly affected by Cws and Ms. Ra and Me were negatively correlated with Cws and Ms though they are not statistically significant. We conclude that Cws and Ms are the main soil factors affecting the reproductive characteristics of A. scoparia populations in the desert grassland.

    Effects of nitrogen and silicon addition on soil nitrogen mineralization in alpine meadows of Qinghai-Xizang Plateau
    MOU Jing, BIN Zhen-Jun, LI Qiu-Xia, BU Hai-Yan, ZHANG Ren-Yi, XU Dang-Hui
    Chin J Plant Ecol. 2019, 43 (1):  77-84.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2018.0218
    Abstract ( 268 )   HTML ( 1 )   PDF (1229KB) ( 49 )   Save
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    Aims To understand the effects of nitrogen and silicon addition on soil nitrogen mineralization in the context of global climate change.
    Methods Nitrogen fertilizer with different concentration were added separately (0, 20, 40, 60 g·m -2, namely CK, N20, N40, N60, respectively) and combined with silicon fertilizer (4 g·m -2 silicic acid, namely Si4). Soil nitrate and ammonium nitrogen contents, net nitrification rate, net ammonification rate as well as net mineralization rate in 0-20, 20-40 and 40-60 cm depth profiles were measured.
    Important findings (1) When nitrogen fertilizer was applied alone, soil nitrate and ammonium nitrogen contents under N20, N40, N60 treatments in 0-20 cm soil layer increased by 63.48%, 126.04%, 247.03% and 80.66%, 152.52%, 244.56% respectively, compared with CK. With the increase of soil depth, soil nitrate and ammonium nitrogen both decreased, the nitrate nitrogen content in 20-40 and 40-60 cm soil layers decreased by an average of 53.90%, 76.05% respectively and the ammonium nitrogen content decreased by an average of 48.62%, 68.23% respectively, compared with 0-20 cm soil layer. (2) With the increase of N application, soil net nitrification rate, net ammoniation rate and net mineralization rate all showed an increasing trend. Under the same nitrogen fertilizer concentration, with the increase of soil depth, net nitrification rate, net ammonification rate and net mineralization rate gradually decreased (except for CK). (3) Compared with nitrogen addition alone, soil nitrogen content was significantly improved when nitrogen and silicon fertilizers were both applied, in the 0-20 cm soil layer, the increase ratio of nitrate nitrogen and ammonium nitrogen were 98.78%, 192.62%, 330.16% and 99.96%, 195.82%, 306.32% respectively, compared with CK. This trend was also found in the 20-40 and 40-60 cm soil layers. The results also showed that combined application of nitrogen and silicon had a significant effect on soil nitrogen mineralization. For example, net nitrification rate and net ammonification rate under N60Si4 treatment increased by 35.88% and 27.41% respectively in the 0-20 cm soil layer, compared with nitrogen application alone. The above results showed that compared with the nitrogen addition alone, the application of both nitrogen and silicon can not only increase the nitrogen content in different soil layers, but also promote the mineralization of soil nitrogen and therefore having a certain mitigation effect on atmospheric nitrogen deposition.

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