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Table of Content
    Volume 40 Issue 2
    10 February 2016

    The scenery of an alpine meadow in Gangcha County, Qinghai Province (Photographed by CHEN Lei-Yi). Zhang et al. collected soil samples from 342 3-m-deep cores and 177 50-cm-deep pits across the plateau, evaluated soil inorganic carbon stock in Qinghai-Xizang alpine grassland sat depths of 0.5 m, 1 m, 2 m and 3 m using Kriging interpolation, and then analyzed vertical and spatial distributions of soil inorganic carbon s tock (Pages 93–101 of this issue).

    Research Articles
    Soil inorganic carbon stock in alpine grasslands on the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau: An updated evaluation using deep cores
    Bei-Bei ZHANG, Fang LIU, Jin-Zhi DING, Kai FANG, Gui-Biao YANG, Li LIU, Yong-Liang CHEN, Fei LI, Yuan-He YANG
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2016, 40 (2):  93-101.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2015.0406
    Abstract ( 774 )   HTML ( 3 )   PDF (998KB) ( 993 )   Save
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    Aims To estimate the size and spatial patterns of 3-m-deep soil inorganic carbon (SIC) stock across alpine grasslands on the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau.Methods We conducted a comprehensive investigation and collected soil samples from 342 3-m-deep cores and 177 50-cm-deep pits across the study area. Using Kriging interpolation, we interpolated site-level observations to the regional level. The distribution of SIC density was then overlaid with the regional vegetation map at a scale of 1:1000000 to calculate SIC stock of the alpine steppe and alpine meadow. Kruskal-Wallis tests were further conducted to examine the differences of SIC density between the two grassland types and among soil depths with 50 cm-depth intervals.Important findings The total SIC stock at depths of 50 cm, 1 m, 2 m and 3 m were estimated at 8.26, 17.82, 36.33 and 54.29 Pg C, with SIC density being 7.22, 15.58, 31.76 and 47.46 kg C·m-2, respectively. SIC density exhibited large spatial variability, with an increasing trend from the southeastern to the northwestern plateau. Much larger SIC stock was observed in the alpine steppe than alpine meadow, with the former accounting for 63%-66% of the total stock at depths of 50 cm, 1 m, 2 m and 3 m. A large amount of SIC stock was found in deep soils (1-3 m), amounting to approximately 2 times as much carbon stored in the top 1-m-deep soil layer. The vertical distributions of SIC density differed between the two grassland types. The highest proportions of SIC occurred in the upper 50 cm layer for the alpine steppe while the highest proportions occurred in 100-150 cm layer for the alpine meadow. These results highlight that a large amount of SIC is stored in deep soil layers, which should be considered in evaluating terrestrial carbon balance under global change scenario.

    Canopy closure estimation in a temperate forest using airborne LiDAR and LANDSAT ETM+ data
    Rui-Ying ZHANG, Yong PANG, Zeng-Yuan LI, Yu-Hai BAO
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2016, 40 (2):  102-115.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2014.0366
    Abstract ( 483 )   HTML ( 3 )   PDF (1724KB) ( 1053 )   Save
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    Aims Forest canopy closure is one of the essential factors in forest survey, and plays an important role in forest ecosystem management. It is of great significance to study how to apply LiDAR (light detection and ranging) data efficiently in remote sensing estimation of forest canopy closure. LiDAR can be used to obtain data fast and accurately and therefore be used as training and validation data to estimate forest canopy closure in large spatial scale. It can compensate for the insufficiency (e.g. labor-intensive, time-consuming) of conventional ground survey, and provide foundations to forest inventory.Methods In this study, we estimated canopy closure of a temperate forest in Genhe forest of Da Hinggan Ling area, Nei Mongol, China, using LiDAR and LANDSAT ETM+ data. Firstly, we calculated the canopy closure from ALS (Airborne Laser Scanning) high density point cloud data. Then, the estimated canopy closure from ALS data was used as training and validation data to modeling and inversion from eight vegetation indices computed from LANDSAT ETM+ data. Three approaches, multi-variable stepwise regression (MSR), random forest (RF) and Cubist, were developed and tested to estimate canopy closure from these vegetation indices, respectively.Important findings The validation results showed that the Cubist model yielded the highest accuracy compared to the other two models (determination coefficient (R2) = 0.722, root mean square error (RMSE) = 0.126, relative root mean square error (rRMSE) = 0.209, estimation accuracy (EA) = 79.883%). The combination of LiDAR data and LANDSAT ETM+ showed great potential to accurately estimate the canopy closure of the temperate forest. However, the model prediction capability needs to be further improved in order to be applied in larger spatial scale. More independent variables from other remotely sensed datasets, e.g. topographic data, texture information from high-resolution imagery, should be added into the model. These variables can help to reduce the influence of optical image, vegetation indices, terrain and shadow and so on. Moreover, the accuracy of the LiDAR-derived canopy closure needs to be further validated in future studies.

    Hydraulic architecture of evergreen broad-leaved woody plants at different successional stages in Tiantong National Forest Park, Zhejiang Province, China
    Yan-Tao ZHAO, Ming-Shan XU, Zhi-Hao ZHANG, Liu-Li ZHOU, Qing-Qing ZHANG, ARSHAD Ali, Yan-Jun SONG, En-Rong YAN
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2016, 40 (2):  116-126.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2015.0258
    Abstract ( 624 )   HTML ( 2 )   PDF (906KB) ( 1083 )   Save
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    Aims Hydraulic architecture is a morphological strategy in plants to transport water in coping with environmental conditions. Change of hydraulic architecture for plants occupying different canopy layers within community and for the same plant at different successional stages reflect existence and adaptation in plant's water transportation strategies. The objective of this study was to examine how hydraulic architecture varies with canopy layers within a community and with forest succession.Methods The study site is located in Tiantong National Forest Park, Zhejiang Province, China. Hydraulic architectural traits studied include sapwood-specific hydraulic conductivity, leaf-specific hydraulic conductivity, Huber value, sapwood channel area of twigs, total leaf area per terminal twig, and water potential of twigs. We measured those traits for species that occur in multiple successional stages (we called it "overlapping species") and for species that occur only in one successional stage (we called it "turnover species") along a successional series of evergreen broadleaved forests. For a given species, we sampled both overstory and understory trees. Hydraulic architectural traits between overstory and understory trees in the same community and at successional stages were compared. Pearson correlation was used to exam the relationship between hydraulic architectural traits and the twig/leaf traits.Important findings Sapwood-specific hydraulic conductivities and leaf-specific hydraulic conductivities were significantly higher in overstory trees than those in understory trees, but did not significantly differ from successional stages. Huber value decreased significantly for understory trees, but did not change for overstory trees through forest successional stages. For overstory trees, a trend of decreasing sapwood-specific hydraulic conductivity was observed for overlapping species but not for turnover species with successional stages. In contrast, for understory trees, a trend of decreasing Huber values was observed for turner species but not for overlapping species with successional stages. Across tree species, sapwood-specific hydraulic conductivity was positively correlated with sapwood channel area and total leaf area per terminal twig size. Huber value was negatively correlated to water potential of twigs and total leaf area per terminal twig size. These results suggest that water transportation capacity and efficiency are higher in overstory trees than in understory trees across successional stages in evergreen broadleaved forests in Tiantong region. The contrasting trends of sapwood-specific hydraulic conductivity between overlapping species and turnover species indicate that shift of microenvironment conditions might lead to changes of hydraulic architecture in overstory trees, whereas species replacement might result in changes of hydraulic architecture in understory trees.

    Composition and temporal dynamics of tree seedlings at different successional stages of conifer and broad-leaved mixed forests in Jiaohe, Jilin Province, China
    Yan YAN, Xin-Na ZHANG, Jie YAO, Chun-Yu ZHANG, Xiu-Hai ZHAO
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2016, 40 (2):  127-139.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2015.0365
    Abstract ( 427 )   HTML ( 1 )   PDF (1167KB) ( 842 )   Save
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    AimsOur objective was to explore the composition and temporal dynamics of woody plant seedlings and the ecological processes that affect the amount of seedlings in Jiaohe, Jilin Province, China. Methods We established a total of 415 seed-seedling census stations in three large permanent field plots belonging to three successional stages in the conifer and broad-leaved mixed forests. Based on three seedling censuses from 2012 to 2014, we analyzed species composition, quantitative character, height-classes structure and their inter-annual dynamics. Multiple linear regression was used to test the relationship between the abundance of seedlings for five major species and the forest types, the sum of the basal area of conspecific adult within 20 m away from a seed trap, as well as canopy openness.Important findings Our results show that: (1) The species composition of seedlings slightly varied among different successional stages, and was similar with that of trees in the plots. The rank of important values for seedling species among different years and successional stages varied slightly. (2) The number of seedlings and seedling species distributed mainly between 5-20 cm height classes, and decreased with the increasing height class. The number of seedlings decreased faster than that of seedling species, indicating that compared with interspecific competition, intraspecific competition was the main driver that led to seedling death. It confirmed the role of the negative density dependence in affecting seedling regeneration. (3) The amount of seedlings for all of the five major species was significantly positively related to the sum of the basal area of conspecific adults, which indicated that the quantity and distribution of seedlings were affected by dispersal limitation as well as niche processes. Our research confirmed the role of negative density dependence, dispersal limitation and niche processes on seedling composition.

    Effects of peach branches returning on autotoxins and microbes in soil and tree growth of peaches
    Jiang-Hong ZHANG, Fu-Tian PENG, Xiao-Mei JIANG, Min-Ji LI, Zhong-Tang WANG
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2016, 40 (2):  140-150.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2015.1107
    Abstract ( 422 )   HTML ( 0 )   PDF (1078KB) ( 788 )   Save
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    Aims This study aimed to investigate the effects of branch returning on the growth of peach (Amygdalus persica "Chunmei/Maotao") saplings, soil enzyme activity, and soil contents of phenolic acids and amygdalin, thereby providing scientific evidence against the application of branch returning for peach trees. Methods One-year-old potted peach tree (Amygdalus persica "Chunmei/Maotao") was used in this study with four agricultural treatments applied, including soil coverage by fragmented peach tree branches (fragment treatment;1.5 and 22.5 g·kg-1) and applying leachate solutions of peach tree branches to soil (leachate treatment; 1.5 and 22.5 g·kg-1). No branch addition was used as control (CK). Solid phase extraction, high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), biological high-throughput sequencing was used to determine the content of autotoxic substances, and microbial community structure in soil. Soil coverage and leachate solution treatments of 30 g and 450 g branches applied to the peach trees were described as 1.5 and 22.5 g·kg-1, respectively in this paper.Important findings Compared with CK, the phenolic acid and amygdalin contents significantly increased after both fragment and leachate treatments in high quantities (22.5 g·kg-1). Soil microbial community structure altered in both treatments, with the proportion of fungi (particularly Agaricomycetes, Tubeufia and Cystofilobasidiaceae) increased significantly and bacteria decreased accordingly. Invertase activity in both high-quantity treatments exceeded that in the CK significantly. The activity of catalase and urease was higher at first and then decreased relative to CK under high-quantity fragment and leachate treatments. Specifically, the effect of leachate treatment on enzyme activity was higher than the fragment treatment in the short term. Chlorophyll content, ground diameter (diameter of 5 cm from the ground) growth and net photosynthesis rate of plants were lower in high-quantity fragment and leachate treatments than those in CK, with earlier retardation of new shoot growth. We observed an increase in soil phenolic acids and enzymes in treatments in normal pruning quantity, while no inhibition effect was found on the tree growth. In conclusion, autotoxins (such as phenolic acid and amygdalin) inhibited the growth of peach trees both directly and indirectly through changing soil enzyme activity and microbial community.

    Interspecific water use strategies of a Juglans regia and Isatis tinctoria/Senna tora agroforestry
    Chun-Xia HE, Ping CHEN, Ping MENG, Jin-Song ZHANG, Hong-Guo YANG
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2016, 40 (2):  151-164.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2015.0360
    Abstract ( 452 )   HTML ( 1 )   PDF (1221KB) ( 781 )   Save
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    Aims Understanding the interspecific water relations is important for designing agroforestry systems. The objective of this study was to determine the water use strategies of component species in a walnut (Juglans regia)-woad (Isatis tinctoria)/sicklepod (Senna tora) agroforestry system.Methods Water sources of component species in a walnut-woad/sicklepod agroforestry system were investigated with the technique of stable deuterium isotope tracing at a site of hilly area in Northern China during 2012-2013.Important findings Results showed that the soil water content in the agroforestry system was 26.74% and 7.93% greater than in the pure woad field in the first half year, and 17.39% and 13.65% greater than in the pure sicklepod field in the second half year (sicklepod growth period), in 2012 and 2013, respectively. The lowest water content was found in the middle of tree rows, and the highest water content was found in the northern side of tree rows or under the trees. In the soil layers measured, the pure woad and pure sicklepod systems had greater hydrogen stable isotope ratios (&#x003b4 D value) of soil water than in the agroforestry system. During the period of woad growth, more than half of the water absorbed by walnut was from the deeper soil layer (30-80 cm). In contrast, the walnut trees mainly utilized shallow layer (0-30 cm) soil water during the period of sicklepod growth. These findings suggest that walnut has a two-state root system: during the period of woad growth, shallow roots of walnut are not active when soil is dry whereas the sicklepod growth occur in rainy season, and the shallow roots of walnut are active and utilize more shallow soil water supplemented by rainwater. More than 85% of water used by both the woad and the sicklepod were from the shallow layer soil. At the seedling stage, the roots of woad, cannot grow into the deeper soil layer, and the absorbed water is completely from the shallow layer in the pure woad system. However, 5.7% of the water absorbed by the intercropped woad was from the deeper soil layer in 2012, and the proportion increased further (9.7%) in the following year when there was less precipitation. The results confirmed that hydraulic lift effect of walnut occurred on shallow layer crop in dry season, and this effect become greater under drier conditions. Therefore, deeper roots of walnut improved water condition in the walnut- woad/sicklepod agroforestry systems compared to pure crop systems. The walnut mainly utilized water from the deeper layer to avoid water competition with the shallow layer. In the dry season, crops benefited from the water provided by walnut roots through hydraulic lift. Walnut and intercropped plants exhibited water facilitation in the agroforestry systems, suggesting that this configuration is a suitable practice in this area.

    Responses of growth of four desert species to different N addition levels
    Ju-Ying HUANG, Hai-Long YU
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2016, 40 (2):  165.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2015.0210
    Abstract ( 498 )   HTML ( 2 )   PDF (1224KB) ( 854 )   Save
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    Aims The increase in atmospheric N deposition has accelerated N cycling of ecosystems, thus altering the structure and function of ecosystems, especially in those limited by N availability. Studies on the response of plant growth to artificial N addition could provide basic data for a better understanding of how the structure of grasslands in northern China responds to increasing N deposition. Methods We investigated the seasonal dynamics of plant growth of four species after 2-year multi-level N addition in a field experiment conducted in a desert steppe of Ningxia in 2011. Plant biomass and the relative growth rate (RGR) of the studied species were measured and their relationships with C:N:P ratios of plants (community and leaf levels) and soils were analyzed. Important findings Results in 2012 showed that 2-year N addition promoted the growth of the four species and the effects were different among growth forms and were species-specific. In general, the plant biomass of the studied species was significantly correlated with leaf N concentration, leaf N:P ratio, community N pool, soil total N content and soil N:P ratio, while only weak relationships were observed between plant biomass and C:N and C:P ratios of plants and soils. In contrast, there was a significant linear relationship between RGR and N:P ratios both of plants and soils.Our results suggest that short-term N addition promoted the accumulation of plant biomass, and the species-specific responses to stimulated N addition can directly affect the structure of the desert steppe ecosystem. Plant N:P ratio and soil N:P ratio could indicate nutrient limitation of plant growth to a certain extent: N addition increased soil N content and N:P ratio, and thus relieved N limitation gradually. Once more N is available to plants, the growth of plants and the accumulation of community N was stimulated in turn.

    Effect of neighboring competition on photosynthetic characteristics and biomass allocation of Chinese fir seedlings under low phosphorus stress
    Zhi-Yu CHEN, Qi LI, Xian-Hua ZOU, Xiang-Qing MA, Peng-Fei WU
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2016, 40 (2):  177.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2015.0182
    Abstract ( 494 )   HTML ( 1 )   PDF (953KB) ( 1019 )   Save
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    To explore the effects of neighbor competition on photosynthetic characteristics in needles and biomass accumulation and allocation of Chinese fir (Cunninghamia lanceolata) seedlings under low phosphorus (P) environment, and to investigate the complex adaptive responses of Chinese fir to available P limitation and intraspecific competition.


    The experiment was performed in a greenhouse at Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University with a Chinese fir clone named 'YANG-020'. The specially designed glass pots of 30 cm length, 30 cm width and 40 cm height were made for the P stress and competition simulation. Two seedlings were planted in each pot, except the control with a single seedling in the center of pot. All the competition treatments were involved three P supply levels: no P supply (0 mg·kg-1 KH2PO4), low P supply (6 mg·kg-1 KH2PO4) and normal P supply (12 mg·kg-1 KH2PO4). The seedlings of each treatment were harvested to determine shoot biomass, root biomass and root: shoot ratio at the prime stage (9th September, 2013), interim stage (30th October, 2013) and last stage (19th December, 2013), separately, after determining the intercellular CO2 concentration, net photosynthetic rate, transpiration rate and stomatal conductance in needles over the the experimental period.Important findings There were significantly three-way interactive effects among competition treatment, P supply level and stress stage on the photosynthetic indexes of Chinese fir seedlings, including intercellular CO2 concentration, net photosynthetic rate, transpiration rate and stomatal conductance (p < 0.05), but no significantly interactive effect was exhibited among the three factors on the biomass allocation (p > 0.05). Compared to the normal P supply, all of the values (i.e., net photosynthetic rate, transpiration rate and stomatal conductance) decreased markedly in Chinese fir needles. The factors of low P supply and neighboring competition additively affected stomatal conductance of needles. Over the course of the stress experimental period, the value of transpiration rate in needles gradually decreased, but both root biomass and root:shoot ratio sharply increased. For the stomatal conductance and intercellular CO2 concentration, both of them gradually declined from the prime stress stage to the interim stage, while increased during the last stress stage.

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