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Table of Content
    Volume 40 Issue 7
    10 July 2016

    The scenery of grassland in Xilin River Basin in Xilin Gol, Nei Mongol (Photographed by ZHANG Bing-Wei). Using two datasets of 8-year precipitation experiment in semiarid grasslands in Xilin Gol, Chen et al. analyzed the influence of different rain pulses on soil water content in surface soil layer, as well as water infiltrating after rain events, and discussed the dynamics of soil water availability in the study site and their influence factors (Pages 658–668 of this is issue).

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    Research Articles
    Forest net primary productivity dynamics and driving forces in Jiangxi Province, China
    Deng-Qiu LI, Chun-Hua ZHANG, Wei-Min JU, Li-Juan LIU
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2016, 40 (7):  643-657.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2015.0348
    Abstract ( 721 )   HTML ( 5 )   PDF (1564KB) ( 952 )   Save
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    Aims Subtropical forest ecosystem has great carbon sequestration capacity. Net primary productivity (NPP) plays a critical role in forest carbon cycle and is affected by a number of factors, including climate change, atmospheric composition, forest disturbance intensity and frequency, and forest age, etc. However, the contribution of these factors to the temporal-spatial dynamics of NPP is still not clear. Quantifying the main driving forces on the temporal-spatial dynamics of NPP for subtropical forest ecosystems is a critical foundation for understanding their carbon cycle.
    Methods We utilized multi-sources dataset, including observed meteorological data, inversed annual maximum leaf area index (LAI), referenced NPP (simulated by Boreal Ecosystem Productivity Simulator (BEPS) model), forest age and forest types, land cover, digital elevation model (DEM), soil texture, CO2 concentration and nitrogen deposition. We used the InTEC (integrated terrestrial ecosystem carbon-budget) model to simulate the NPP dynamics for forest ecosystems in Jiangxi Province during the period of 1901-2010. The effects of climate change, forest age, CO2 concentration and nitrogen (N) deposition on forest NPP from 1970 to 2010 were discussed through designed scenarios.
    Important findings (1) Validations by flux measurements and forest inventory data indicated that the InTEC model was able to capture the interannual and spatial variations of forest NPP. (2) The average forest NPP was 47.7 Tg C·a-1 (± 4.2 Tg C·a-1) during 1901-2010. The NPP in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s was 50.7, 48.8, 45.4, and 55.2 Tg C·a-1, respectively. As forest regrows, NPP significantly increased for forests in Jiangxi Province in the 2000s, and exceed that in the 1970s for more than 60% of the forest area. (3) During 1970-2010, under the scenarios of disturbance and non-disturbance, the forest NPP were underestimated by 7.3 Tg C·a-1 (14.5%) and overestimated by 3.6 Tg C·a-1 (7.1%) compared to the scenarios of all disturbance and non-disturbance factors, respectively. Compared to the average NPP during 1970-2010, climate change decreased NPP by -2.0 Tg C·a-1 (-4.7%), N deposition increased NPP by 4.5 Tg C·a-1 (10.4%), CO2 concentration change, and the integrated fertilization of CO2 and N deposition increased NPP by 4.4 Tg C·a-1 (10.3%) and 9.4 Tg C·a-1 (21.8%), respectively.

    Responses of soil moisture to precipitation pattern change in semiarid grasslands in Nei Mongol, China
    Min-Ling CHEN, Bing-Wei ZHANG, Ting-Ting REN, Shan-Shan WANG, Shi-Ping CHEN
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2016, 40 (7):  658-668.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2015.0155
    Abstract ( 722 )   HTML ( 6 )   PDF (1170KB) ( 1158 )   Save
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    Aims Under global climate change, precipitation patterns were predicted to change with larger seasonal and annual variations and more extreme events in the semiarid regions of northern China. Water availability is one of the key limited factors in semiarid grasslands. Changes in precipitation patterns will inevitably affect ecosystem structure and function through soil water condition. Our objective was to investigate the response of soil water content to changes of precipitation pattern, especially its pulse response to precipitation events.
    Methods Two semiarid steppe sites (Duolun and Xilinhot) in Nei Mongol were chosen and meteorological stations were installed to monitor precipitation and soil volumetric water content (VWC) at five soil depths (0-10 cm, 10 cm, 20 cm, 30 cm, 50 cm) from 2006 to 2013. The pulse response of VWC at 0-10 cm to an individual precipitation event was simulated by an exponential equation.
    Important findings Significant seasonal and inter-annual variations of VWC were observed at the Duolun and Xilinhot sites. VWC at 50 cm soil layer in Xilinhot showed an obvious increase during the early spring due to the influences of snow melting. Mean surface (0-10 cm soil layer) VWC was significantly correlated with annual precipitation across eight years, but VWC in the deeper soil layers (10-50 cm) were not impacted by precipitation. We also found that the precipitation event larger than 2 mm could induce a significant increase in surface (0-10 cm soil layer) VWC, and could be regarded as an effective precipitation in this region. The maximum increment of surface VWC after the events and lasting time (Tlasting) were determined by the event size, while showed negatively linear correlations with the initial soil water content before the events. Vegetation development (leaf area index) did not show significant impacts on the responses of surface soil moisture to precipitation pulses. The infiltration depth of rain water was also determined by rain size and pre-event soil moisture. In average, soil water can infiltrate 1.06 cm and 0.79 cm deeper in Duolun and Xilinhot with 1 mm more precipitation, respectively. Therefore, our results suggest that the event size and pre-event soil moisture were the most important factors affecting response patterns of soil moisture to rain events in semiarid ecosystems.

    Effects of different rotations on carbon sequestration in Chinese fir plantations
    Wei-Feng WANG, Yu-Xi DUAN, Li-Xin ZHANG, Bo WANG, Xiao-Jing LI
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2016, 40 (7):  669-678.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2015.0407
    Abstract ( 584 )   HTML ( 2 )   PDF (1235KB) ( 725 )   Save
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    Aims Under the context of global climate change, scientific management is the main way to enhance carbon sequestration of plantation forests. A reasonable rotation is one of the intensive management strategies, adjusting forest structure. The decline of productivity after continuous multigenerational cultivation is strongly related to its rotation. Therefore, it is necessary to study the effects of different rotations on carbon sequestration of Chinese fir (Cunninghamia lanceolata) plantations, which can provide a theoretical basis for their sustainable management.
    Methods We set up sampling fields of Chinese fir plantations with different age sequences, and used the observation data to test the FORECAST model. We then simulated the effects of different rotations on Chinese fir plantations sequestration using FORECAST model.
    Important findings The results showed that over a 150-year period, total carbon sequestration was highest under short rotation length (15-year). However the carbon persistence was poorest and the decline of carbon between each rotation was biggest, indicating an unsustainable management model. Compared with short rotation, the total carbon sequestration under normal rotation (25-year) and long rotation (50-year) was lower. However, the carbon persistence under long rotation was strongest, which was beneficial to maintaining carbon stability during each rotation. Under good site conditions (site index (SI) = 27), the shorter the rotation was, the more severely the soil fertility was consumed. In order to have persistent carbon sequestration rates in Chinese fir plantations, we suggest that rotation should be longer than 25 years. Application of FORECAST model can help quantitatively assess carbon sequestration capacity of forest plantations, which varies under different management strategies.

    Simulated nitrogen deposition influences the growth and competitive ability of Centaurea stoebe populations
    PENG Yang, PENG Pei-Hao, LI Jing-Ji
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2016, 40 (7):  679-685.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2015.0481
    Abstract ( 493 )   HTML ( 3 )   PDF (1088KB) ( 700 )   Save
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    Aims Soil nitrogen (N) availability is the most limiting factor for terrestrial plant growth, and global N deposition can improve the soil N availability. Fast growth may be a general trait of successful invaders, so learning how N addition affected the growth and competitive ability of three Centaurea stoebe populations is conductive to forecasting the plant invasion risk under N deposition.
    Methods We conducted an experiment simulating N deposition at Chengdu, in which three populations from the invasive forb C. stoebe and one native species Poa pratensis were subjected to two treatments: N addition and ambient. In our study, C. stoebe populations and P. pratensis were planted alone or together, and we determined plant height, leaf area and biomass.
    Important findings In the absence of competition, N addition promoted the growth of C. stoebe populations, thereby improving their invasive potential to a certain extent. So under the condition of competition, we found that N addition obviously enhanced the competitive effects of C. stoebe on P. pratensis, particularly interspecific root competition. The competitive ability of different populations performed similarly in response to N addition. These results preliminarily suggest that N deposition may increase the potential invasion risks of C. stoebe populations by improving their competitive ability.

    Research Articles
    Effects of nitrogen addition on leaf traits of common species in natural Pinus tabuliformis forests in Taiyue Mountain, Shanxi Province, China
    Di XIAO, Xiao-Jie WANG, Kai ZHANG, Nian-Peng HE, Ji-Hua HOU
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2016, 40 (7):  686-701.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2015.1043
    Abstract ( 676 )   HTML ( 4 )   PDF (1672KB) ( 1202 )   Save
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    Aims Our objectives were to explore the effects of simulated nitrogen deposition on leaf traits and ecological stoichiometry characteristics of common species in natural Pinus tabuliformis forests.
    Methods We conducted the experiment of nitrogen (N) addition from 2009 to 2013 in the natural Pinus tabuliformis forests in Taiyue Mountain, Shanxi, China. The levels of N addition were 0 (control), 50 (low-N), 100 (medium-N) and 150 (high-N) kg·hm-2·a-1, respectively. Eleven common plant species in 12 20 m × 20 m plots were selected, including Pinus tabuliformis, Quercus mongolica, Acer ginnala, Corylus mandshurica, Cornus bretschneideri, Spiraea salicifolia, Lonicera maackii, Carex callitrichos, Diarrhena mandshurica, Anemone tomentosa, and Polygonatum odoratum. Nine leaf traits were measured, including leaf thickness (LT), specific leaf area (SLA), leaf dry matter content (LDMC), leaf nitrogen content (LNC), leaf phosphorus content (LPC), and other four.
    Important findings We found that: 1) LT and SLA of Polygonatum odoratum significantly differed among four levels of N addition. Leaf area (LA) and LDMC of several species, such as Spiraea salicifolia, had significant difference among the N addition concentration. LNC of all species, chlorophyll content (CC) and LPC of most species increased significantly with the addition of N. Leaf N:P of 9 species varied significantly, and leaves with different types and ages showed different responses to N addition. 2) Leaf traits were significantly correlated with each other. For instance, SLA was significantly positively correlated with LNC and LPC. In contrast LT was negatively connected with LNC and LPC. In addition, the degree of correlation changed with the level of N addition. 3) The pattern of species distribution in leaf trait space was consistent with the prediction from the theory of Leaf Economic Spectrum (LES). N addition drove species moving along axis 1 in the trait space, and propelled them towards different directions along axis 2, which indicated that these species tended to take the “fast investment-return” strategy. These results suggested that with the change of environmental conditions, plants changed their survival strategy and adjusted resource allocation to maintain the stability of communities. This is the inherent characteristic of plants, thus the formation of LES did not depend on the environment change.

    Leaf hydraulic traits and their trade-offs for nine Chinese temperate tree species with different wood properties
    Ying JIN, Chuan-Kuan WANG
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2016, 40 (7):  702-710.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2016.0064
    Abstract ( 507 )   HTML ( 1 )   PDF (993KB) ( 914 )   Save
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    Aims Trees with different wood properties display variations in xylem anatomy and leaf vein structure, which may influence tree water transport efficiency and water-use strategy, and consequently constrain tree survival, growth and distribution. However, the effects of wood properties on leaf hydraulic conductance and vulnerability and their potential trade-offs at leaf level are not well understood. Our aims were to examine variations in leaf hydraulic traits of trees with different wood properties and explore potential trade-offs between leaf hydraulic efficiency and safety.
    Methods Nine tree species with different wood properties were selected for measuring the leaf hydraulic traits, including three diffuse-porous species (Populus davidiana, Tilia amurensis, Betula platyphylla), three ring-porous species (Quercus mongolica, Fraxinus mandshurica, Juglans mandshurica), and three non-porous species (Picea koraiensis, Pinus sylvestris var. mongolica, Pinus koraiensis). Four dominant and healthy trees per species were randomly selected. The hydraulic traits measured included leaf hydraulic conductance on leaf area (Karea) and dry mass (Kmass) basis, leaf hydraulic vulnerability (P50), and leaf water potential at turgor loss point (TLP), while the leaf structural traits were leaf dry mass content (LDMC), leaf density (LD) and leaf mass per unit area (LMA).
    Important findings The Karea, Kmass, and P50 differed significantly among the tree species with different woody properties (p < 0.05). Both Karea and Kmass were the lowest for the non-porous trees, and did not differ significantly between the diffuse-porous and ring-porous trees. The ring-porous trees had the highest P50 values, while the diffuse-porous and non-porous trees showed no significant differences in P50. Both Karea and Kmass were negatively correlated with P50 (p < 0.05) for all the trees, and the relationships for the diffuse-porous, ring-porous, and non-porous trees were fitted into linear, power, exponential functions, respectively. This indicates that significant trade-offs exist between leaf hydraulic efficiency and safety. The Kmass was correlated (p < 0.01) with TLP in a negative linear function for the diffuse- and ring-porous trees and in a negative exponential function for the non-porous trees. The P50 increased with increasing TLP. These results suggest that apoplastic and symplastic drought resistance are strictly coordinated in order to protect living cells from approaching their critical water status under water stresses. The Kmass was negatively correlated (p < 0.01) with LDMC, LD, or LMA, while the P50 was positively correlated with LDMC and LD; this suggests that variations in Kmass and P50 are driven by similar changes in structural traits regardless of wood traits. We conclude that the tree tolerance to hydraulic dysfunction increases with increasing carbon investment in the leaf hydraulic system.

    Effects of biotic neighbors and habitat heterogeneity on tree seedling survival in a secondary mixed conifer and broad-leaved forest in Changbai Mountain
    Shuai LIU, Jia-Xing LIAO, Cui XIAO, Xiu-Hua FAN
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2016, 40 (7):  711-722.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2015.0366
    Abstract ( 462 )   HTML ( 4 )   PDF (1225KB) ( 775 )   Save
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    Aims Our study aimed to understand the effects and the relative importance of biotic neighborhood and habitat heterogeneity for tree seedling survival in a secondary mixed conifer and broad-leaved forest in Changbai Mountain, north-eastern China.
    Methods The generalized mixed linear model was used to examine the relative effects of biotic neighborhood and habitat heterogeneity on seedling survival over two years.
    Important findings Our results showed that both biotic neighborhood and habitat heterogeneity had significant effects on the seedling survival at community level. The local environment suitable for the adult growth was also suitable for seedling survival. The soil moisture and soil available nitrogen exhibited significant positive effects on seedling survival. On the other hand, seedling density had significant negative effects on seedling survival due to the individual competition. Particularly, we found significant negative density-dependent effects on seedling survival which was caused by conspecific adult and seedling neighbors. As expected, with the increasing of seedling survival age, the habitat heterogeneity became more important on seedling survival. These results suggest that both local biotic neighborhood and habitat heterogeneity drive seedling survival in this temperate forest, and their relative importance varies with different seedling age classes and species traits.

    Impacts of the removal of vascular plants on physiological and biochemical characteristics of Syntrichia caninervis during winter season in a temperate desert
    Ben-Feng YIN, Yuan-Ming ZHANG, An-Ru LOU
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2016, 40 (7):  723-734.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2015.0441
    Abstract ( 481 )   HTML ( 1 )   PDF (1255KB) ( 759 )   Save
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    Aims Patchily distributed biological soil crusts and shrubs is one of the main vegetation cover types in Gurbantünggüt desert. The existence of shrubs in desert areas serves not only as a shelter for small animals, but also a good living condition for cryptogams and some herbs. Syntrichia caninervis, a dominant moss species in Gurbantünggüt desert, is patchily distributed under shrub canopy and open spaces between vascular plants. To our knowledge, the impacts of the removal of shrub canopy on physiological and biochemical characteristics of S. caninervis during the winter is still unknown.
    Methods We simulated grazing of animals on Ephedra distachya at various rates (shrubs left intact, 50% shrubs removed, and shrubs removed completely) by cutting different percent of above-ground shoots of E. distachya. The shoot water content, chlorophyll fluorescence, proline content, soluble sugar content, soluble protein content, malonyldialdehyde (MDA) content, peroxidase (POD) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity were compared.
    Important findings The results show that, as for proline and soluble sugar contents of tested S. caninervis, there were no significant differences among three treatments of shrub canopy. However, the MDA content, and the activities of POD, SOD, CAT were significantly higher than nature shrubs in snow cover periods. During snow-melting periods, soil moisture and temperature did not served as limiting factors on the growth of S. caninervis. The soluble sugar content, and the activities of POD, CAT with shrub removal were significantly higher than shrubs left intact. This may indicate that the decline of the function of maintaining constant soil temperature due to shrub canopy increased the damage of temperature on moss plants. In addition, as for physiological and biochemical characteristics, there were no significant differences between two treatments of 50% shrub canopy and shrub canopy left intact. In snow covered periods and snow melting periods, the MDA content, the activities of POD, SOD and CAT of S. caninervis under shrub canopy removed completely were significantly higher than that of 50% shrub canopy and shrub canopy left intact, except for soluble protein content. The duration of chlorophyll fluorescence activity of S. caninervis growing in habitats with shrubs removed completely was significantly shorter than that of S. caninervis growing in habitats of 50% shrub canopy and shrub canopy left intact. This result indicated that the removal of shrubs may increase the UV-B radiation and weaken the “moisture island effects” developed by the existence of shrub canopy.

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