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Table of Content
    Volume 41 Issue 9
    10 September 2017

    The scenery of subalpine forests in western Sichuan (Photographed by YANG Kai-Jun). Yang et al. investigated the effects of snow removal on winter soil respiration in a spruce forest in western Sichuan using a shelter method (Pages 964–971 of this issue).

    Cover and contents of Vol. 41, No. 9. 2017n>

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    Research Articles
    Temporal and spatial variation characteristics of China shrubland net primary production and its response to climate change from 2001 to 2013
    Ya-Lin WANG, Rong GONG, Feng-Min WU, Wen-Wu FAN
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2017, 41 (9):  925-937.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2016.0177
    Abstract ( 409 )   HTML ( 7 )   PDF (2199KB) ( 398 )   Save
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    Aims Net primary production (NPP) is the input to terrestrial ecosystem carbon pool. Climate and land use change affect NPP significantly. Shrublands occupy more than 20% of the terrestrial area of China, and their NPP is comparable to those of the forests. Our objective was to estimate China shrubland NPP from 2001 to 2013, and to analyze its variation and response to climate change.Methods We used a Carnegie-Ames-Stanford Approach (CASA) model to estimate the NPP of six shrubland types in China from 2001 to 2013. Furthermore, we used Theil-Sen slope combined with Mann-kendall test to analyze its spatial variation and a linear regression of one-variable model to analyze its inter- and intra-annual variation. Finally, a multi-factor linear regression model was used to analyze its response to climate change.Important findings We found the annual mean NPP of China shrubland was 281.82 g•m-2•a-1. The subtropical evergreen shrubland has the maximum NPP of 420.47 g•m-2•a-1, while the high cold desert shrubland has the minimum NPP of 52.65 g•m-2•a-1. The countrywide shrublands NPP increased at the rate of 1.23 g•m-2•a-1, the relative change rate was 5.99%. The temperate deciduous shrubland NPP increased the fastest with a speed of 3.05 g•m-2•a-1 and subalpine evergreen shrubland had a decreasing trend with a speed of -0.73 g•m-2•a-1. Moreover, the other four shrublands NPP had a growing trend, only subalpine deciduous shrubland NPP did not change significantly. The response of NPP to climate change of different seasons varies to different shrubland types. In general, the NPP variation was mainly affected by precipitation, and the spring warming also contributed to it. The increase of countrywide shrubland NPP may promote its contribution to the regional ecosystem function.

    Effects of precipitation intensity and temporal pattern on soil nitrogen mineralization in a typical steppe of Nei Mongol grassland
    Zhi-Cheng ZHU, Yin HUANG, Feng-Wei XU, Wen XING, Shu-Xia ZHENG, Yong-Fei BAI
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2017, 41 (9):  938-952.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2017.0056
    Abstract ( 370 )   HTML ( 15 )   PDF (1969KB) ( 413 )   Save
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    Aims Our objective is to: 1) explore the dynamics of soil nitrogen (N) mineralization in a grassland ecosystem in response to the changes in precipitation intensity and temporal distribution, and 2) identify the controlling factors.Methods The two study sites located in a typical steppe of the Nei Mongol grassland were fenced in 2013 and 1999, respectively. Our field experiment includes manipulations of three levels of precipitation intensity (increased 50%, decreased 50%, control) in three temporal patterns (increased or decreased precipitation for three years; increased or decreased precipitation for two years and no manipulation for one year; increased or decreased precipitation for one year and no manipulation for one year).Important findings 1) The soil net N mineralization and net nitrification rates decreased with changes in the temporal distributions of precipitation from one year to three years, with the maximum values of soil net N mineralization and nitrification rates observed in the treatments of increased or decreased precipitation for one year and no manipulation for one year (+PY1 or -PY1). This indicates that the high precipitation intensity and longer precipitation may have negative effects on soil net N mineralization and nitrification rates, while the moderate soilmoisture and temperature may stimulate soil mineralization. 2) The soil net N mineralization and nitrification rates, soil cumulative N mineralization, and nitrification in the fenced site in 1999 were higher than those in the site fenced in 2013, implying that a long-term enclosure may have promoted nutrient storage and soil quality restoration. 3) The long-term treatments of increased or decreased precipitation had significant effects on soil water content and temperature, whereas the short-term, discontinuous precipitation produced minor effects on soil moisture and temperature. Moreover, the controlling factors for soil N mineralization were different between the two fields. Soil moisture had a major effect on soil inorganic N content and net N mineralization rate in the site fenced in 2013, while soil temperature played a dominant role in the site fenced in 1999, with the net N mineralization rate depressed by higher soil moisture. Our findings suggest that the precipitation intensity and temporal distribution had important impacts on soil N mineralization in the Inner Mongolia grassland; these effects was site-dependent and particularly related to soil texture, community composition, and disturbance, and other factors.

    Soil carbon storage and its determinants in the forests of Shaanxi Province, China
    Xi LI, Fang WANG, Yang CAO, Shou-Zhang PENG, Yun-Ming CHEN
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2017, 41 (9):  953-963.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2017.0102
    Abstract ( 289 )   HTML ( 4 )   PDF (1286KB) ( 302 )   Save
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    Aims The bank of soil carbon of forests plays an important role in the global carbon cycle. Our aim is to understand the characteristics of soil carbon storage and its determinants in the forests in Shaanxi Province.Methods The data of forest inventory in 2009 and resampling in 2011 were used to analyze the characteristics of soil carbon storage and its determinants in the forest soil in Shaanxi Province.Important findings The soil carbon storage in the forests in Shaanxi Province was 579.68 Tg. Soil carbon storage of Softwood and Hardwood forests were the highest among all forest types, accounting for 36.35% of the whole province forest soil carbon storage. The forest soil carbon storage was 4.15 times greater in the natural forest (467.17 Tg) than that in the plantations. The young and middle-aged forests were the main contributors to the total carbon storage across all age groups, accounting for about 57.30% of the total forest soil carbon storage. The average soil carbon density of forests in Shaanxi Province was 90.68 t∙hm-2, in which the soil carbon density of Betula forests was the highest (141.74 t∙hm-2). Soil carbon density of different forest types were gradually decreased with soil depth. In addition, it was highest in middle-aged forest. Soil carbon density was higher in the natural forest ecosystems than that in the plantations within the each age group, indicating natural forest ecosystems have higher capacity of carbon sequestration. Differences in the spatial patterns between carbon storage and density indicated that carbon storage was related to forest coverage. The soil carbon density and storage of forests in Yulin were the lowest across the province. This suggests that, in order to enhance the regional carbon sequestration capacity in this region, we need to appropriately strengthen artificial afforestation activities and manage them scientifically and rationally. The soil carbon density of forests in Shaanxi Province decreased with the increase of longitude, latitude, and annual temperature, but increased with the increase of altitude and annual rainfall. This study provides data basis for provincial estimation of forest soil carbon bank in China.

    Short-term responses of winter soil respiration to snow removal in a Picea asperata forest of western Sichuan
    Kai-Jun YANG, Wan-Qin YANG, Yu TAN, Ruo-Yang HE, Li-Yan ZHUANG, Zhi-Jie LI, Bo TAN, Zhen-Feng XU
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2017, 41 (9):  964-971.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2017.0015
    Abstract ( 286 )   HTML ( 9 )   PDF (1166KB) ( 375 )   Save
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    Aims Seasonal snow cover is one of the most important factors that control winter soil respiration in the cold biomes. The warming-induced decreases in snowpack could affect winter soil respiration of subalpine forests. The aim of this study was to explore the effects of snow removal on winter soil respiration in a Picea asperata forest.Methods A snow removal experiment was conducted in a P. asperata forest stand in western Sichuan during the winter of 2015/2016. The snow removal treatment was implemented using wooden roof method. Soil temperatures, snow depth and soil respiration rate were simultaneously measured in plots of snow removal and controls during the experimental period.Important findings Compared to the control, snow removal increased the fluctuations of soil temperatures. The average daily temperature of the soil surface and that at 5 cm depth were 1.12 °C and 0.34 °C lower, respectively, and the numbers of freeze-thaw cycles of the soil surface and that at 5 cm depth were increased by 39 and 12, respectively, in plots of snow removal than in the controls. The average rate of winter soil respiration and CO2 efflux were 0.52 μmol·m-2·s-1 and 88.44 g·m-2, respectively. On average, snow removal reduced soil respiration rate by 21.02% and CO2 efflux by 25.99%, respectively. More importantly, the snow effect mainly occurred in the early winter. The winter soil respiration rate had a significant exponential relationship with soil temperature. However, snow removal significantly reduced temperature sensitivity of the winter soil respiration. Our results suggest that seasonal snow reduction associated with climate change could inhibit winter soil respiration in the subalpine forests of western Sichuan, with significant implications for the carbon dynamics of the subalpine forests.

    Characteristics of normalized difference vegetation index of biological soil crust during the succession process of artificial sand-fixing vegetation in the Tengger Desert, Northern China
    Yun ZHAO, Rong-Liang JIA, Yan-Hong GAO, Yuan-Yuan ZHOU, Jia-Ling TENG
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2017, 41 (9):  972-984.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2017.0105
    Abstract ( 327 )   HTML ( 10 )   PDF (1656KB) ( 367 )   Save
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    Aims Biological soil crust (hereafter crust) affects normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) values in arid desert ecosystems. This study aimed to demonstrate the feasibility of combining crust NDVI values with meteorological data to distinguish the crust successional stage at the regional scale. Meanwhile, the characteristics of crust NDVI could provide the basis for the error analysis of NDVI-based surface ecological parameters estimation in desert ecosystems. We also suggested the optimum periods for crust observation based on the multi-temporal remote sensing images.Methods NDVI values of five types of dominant crusts, three typical sand-fixing shrubs and bare sand were collected by spectrometer in the field. Crusts and shrubs were randomly selected in revegetated areas established in 1956, 1964, and 1973 at Shapotou, which is on the southeastern edge of the Tengger Desert. We used the space-for-time method to study the characteristics of crust NDVI values and their responses to precipitation and temperature during the succession process of artificial sand-fixing vegetation. Additionally, we evaluated the contribution of crust NDVI values to the whole ecosystem NDVI values by comparing the NDVI values of crusts, shrubs and bare sand.Important findings 1) With succession process of the artificial sand-fixing vegetation, the crust NDVI values significantly increased. Among different crust types, we found the following order of NDVI values: Didymodon vinealis crust > Bryum argenteum crust > mixed crust > lichen crust > algae crust. 2) Crust NDVI values were significantly affected by precipitation, temperature and their interaction, and the influences showed significant seasonal differences. Furthermore, we found significantly linear correlations between crust NDVI value and precipitation, and between crust NDVI value and the shallow soil moisture content covered by crust. A significantly negative linear correlation between daily mean temperature and crust NDVI value, and a significantly exponential correlation between the surface temperature of crust and its NDVI value. With the succession process of artificial sand-fixing vegetation, the response of crust NDVI value to precipitation and temperature became more sensitive. In addition, the response of crust NDVI value to temperature was more sensitive in spring than in summer, while that to precipitation was less sensitive in spring than in summer. 3) Moss crust NDVI value was significantly higher than that of shrubs and bare sand after the rainfall event in spring, while shrubs NDVI value was significantly higher than that of crust after the rainfall event in summer. Considering the coverage weights of different ground features in sand-fixing areas, crust NDVI values contributed 90.01% and 82.53% in spring and summer, respectively, to the regional NDVI values, which were higher than those of shrubs (9.99% and 17.47% in spring and in summer, respectively). Additionally, with the succession process of artificial sand-fixing vegetation, crust NDVI values contributed more, while shrubs contributed less to regional NDVI values.

    Empirical relationship between specific leaf area and thermal dissipation of Phragmites australis in salt marshes of Qinwangchuan
    Qun LI, Cheng-Zhang ZHAO, Lian-Chun ZHAO, Jian-Liang WANG, Wei-Tao ZHANG, Wen-Xiu YAO
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2017, 41 (9):  985-994.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2017.0005
    Abstract ( 279 )   HTML ( 2 )   PDF (1069KB) ( 246 )   Save
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    Aims The correlation between specific leaf area (SLA) and thermal dissipation reflects not only the accumulation and dissipation of plant photosynthesis, but also plants’ adaptation to their habitats and changing environment. The objective of this study is to examine the correlation between SLA and thermal dissipation of reed (Phragmites australis) under different soil moisture conditions and salt contents.Methods Our study site was located in the National Wetland Park in Qinwangchuan, Gansu Province, China. Our sampling site extends from the edge to the central of a salt marsh where the reed was the single dominant species. The study site was divided into three zones based on the distance from the water. Within each zone, six 2 m × 2 m sampling plots were randomly located to select six reed individuals in each plot (total = 18). Vegetation height, aboveground biomass, soil moisture, and soil electrical conductivity (EC) were measured, with the six reed individuals taken to the laboratory to measure leaf thickness. Leaf net photosynthetic rate (Pn), transpiration rate (Tr), and other parameters of the reeds were also measured in each plot prior to harvesting. Quantitative measures of chlorophyll fluorescence were taken after 30-min dark adaptation. Quadrat survey method was used to model the empirical relationship between the transpiration rate and leaf characteristics.Important findings Vegetation height and aboveground biomass increased with soil moisture content, but EC and photosynthetically active radiation decreased. Leaf area, Tr and Pn increased along the gradient, leaf thickness showed decreasing, but the increasing trend of SLA switched to a decreasing trend, while leaf dry mass presented an opposite trend. From plot I to III, the quantum yield of regulated energy dissipation (Y(NPQ)) and non-photochemical quenching decreased, the actual photochemical efficiency of PSII and photochemical quenching increased, and quantum yield of non-regulated energy dissipation increased before decreasing. There appeared a highly significant negative correlation (p < 0.01) between SLA and Y(NPQ) at plot I and III, and a less significant negative correlation (p < 0.05) at plot II. Along the soil moisture gradient, reed seemed using light effectively by changing leaf thermal dissipation through adjusting their leaf size and SLA—A potential self-protection mechanism in light of adapting the habitat.

    Spatial variations of ginsenosides in Panax ginseng and their impact factors
    Jie GUO, Qin ZHANG, Cheng-Zhong SUN, Jian WEN, Cai-Xiang XIE
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2017, 41 (9):  995-1002.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2016.0368
    Abstract ( 237 )   HTML ( 3 )   PDF (999KB) ( 311 )   Save
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    Aims This study aimed to reveal how ginsenosides content in Panax ginseng varied spatially and the regulating roles of environmental factors.Methods Twenty eight P. ginseng samples were collected from Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning provinces, and nine kinds of ginsenosides content in P. ginseng were measured. The one-way ANOVA was used to evaluate their spatial variations. The method of UPLC was employed to determine the content of nine kinds of ginsenosides in P. ginseng. The principal component analysis (PCA), correlation analysis (CA) and redundancy analysis (RDA) were used to analyze the relationship between ginsenosides content and ecological factors (including climate and soil factors).Important findings The results showed that the content of ginsenosides in P. ginseng from Jilin and Liaoning was similar, and higher than that in Heilongjiang. Precipitation was the most important climate factor affecting the contents of ginsenosides. High temperature and strong sunshine limited the content of ginsenosides. The analysis on ginsenosides and soil factors indicated that soil nitrogen content, Fe, K, organic matter, pH value, Mn, P, Zn all had significant influences on the content of ginsenosides.

    Phylogeographic breaks and the mechanisms of their formation in the Sino-Japanese floristic region
    Jun-Wei YE, Yang ZHANG, Xiao-Juan WANG
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2017, 41 (9):  1003-1019.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2016.0388
    Abstract ( 899 )   HTML ( 5 )   PDF (430KB) ( 407 )   Save
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    Due to combinations of diverse geography and climate, and complex geo-climate histories and sea level fluctuations, the Sino-Japanese floristic region has extremely high species diversity. Phylogeography is an effective method to identify the factors triggering the formation and differentiation of species diversity. Previous studies showed that phylogeographic breaks, the genetic discontinuity between different gene genealogies, were ubiquitously present. From the west to the east, seven general phylogeographic breaks occur, including the Mekong- Salween Divide, the Tanaka-Kaiyong Line, the Sichuan Basin, ca. 105° E, the boundary between the Second and Third ladders, the North China, and the East China Sea and Korea Strait. These phylogeographic breaks are mainly attributable to both historical and ecological factors, which are generally due to a combined effect of the isolation by distance (IBD) and the isolation by environment (IBE). Geological events and climate changes are the historical factors, mainly including the uplift of Qinghai-Xizang Plateau, the formation and intensification of the Asian monsoon and the Asian interior aridification, the redevelopment of the arid belt, and the Quaternary climate oscillations and sea level fluctuations. Adaptive divergence, namely the divergence induced by different selective pressures under different environments, is responsible for the ecological factors. Adaptive divergence could obstacle gene flow among populations, resulting in the formation of phylogeographic break. However, an identical phylogeographic break is not shared by all the plants because of their various intrinsic biological characteristics, among which the difference in dispersal ability is most important. Finally, we envisaged the future development of phylogeographic break studies based on accurate divergence time estimation, relative contribution of IBD and IBE, and also the utilization of comparative phylogeography.

    Plant water-regulation strategies: Isohydric versus anisohydric behavior
    Dan-Dan LUO, Chuan-Kuan WANG, Ying JIN
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2017, 41 (9):  1020-1032.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2016.0366
    Abstract ( 1263 )   HTML ( 28 )   PDF (1013KB) ( 773 )   Save
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    Water is a vital resource for plant survival, growth and distribution, and it is of significance to explore mechanisms of plant water-relations regulation and responses to drought in ecophysiology and global change ecology. Plants adapt to different climates and soil water regimes and develop divergent water-regulation strategies involving a suite of related traits, of which two typical types are isohydric and anisohydric behaviors. It is critical to distinguish water-regulation strategies of plants and reveal the underlying mechanisms for plant breeding and vegetation restoration especially in xeric regions; and it is also important for developing more accurate vegetation dynamic models and predicting vegetation distribution under climate change scenarios. In this review, we first recalled the definitions of isohydric and anisohydric regulations and three quantitative classification methods that were established based on the relationships (1) between stomatal conductance and leaf water potential, (2) between stomatal conductance and vapor pressure deficit, (3) between predawn and midday leaf water potentials. We then compared the two water-regulation strategies in terms of hydraulics and carbon-economics traits. We synthesized the mechanisms of plant water-regulation and found that the interaction between hydraulic and chemical signals was the dominant factor controlling plant water-regulation behavior. Last, we proposed three promising aspects in this field: (1) to explore reliable and universal methods for classifying plant water-regulation strategies based on extensive investigation of the traits related with plant water-relations in various regions; (2) to explore relationships between plant water-regulation strategies and traits of hydraulics, morphology, structure, and function in order to provide reliable parameters for improving vegetation dynamic models; and (3) to deeply understand the processes of plant water-regulation at different spatial and temporal scales, and reveal mechanisms of plants’ responses and adaption to environmental stresses (especially drought).

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