Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2023, Vol. 47 ›› Issue (2): 183-194.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2022.0156

Special Issue: 青藏高原植物生态学:种群生态学

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Asynchronous response of plant phenology to warming in a Kobresia pygmaea meadow in Nagqu, Qingzang Plateau

XIA Jing-Yu1,2, ZHANG Yang-Jian2, ZHENG Zhou-Tao2, ZHAO Guang2, ZHAO Ran2,3, ZHU Yi-Xuan2, GAO Jie2, SHEN Ruo-Nan2, LI Wen-Yu2, ZHENG Jia-He2, ZHANG Yu-Xue1, ZHU Jun-Tao2,*(), SUN Osbert Jianxin1   

  1. 1School of Ecology and Nature Conservation, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
    2Nagqu Alpine Grassland Research Station, Key Laboratory of Ecosystem Network Observation and Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
    3Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School, Shenzhen, Guangdong 518055, China
  • Received:2022-04-21 Accepted:2022-10-18 Online:2023-02-20 Published:2023-02-28
  • Contact: *(
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(U20A2009);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41991234);National Natural Science Foundation of China(42077422);National Key R&D Program of China(2017YFA0604802)


Aims The response of plant phenology to climate warming is an important element of global change research. At present, studies on plant phenology response to climate warming are in severe shortage for high-altitude ecosystems, especially regarding responses to multiple-level warming.

Methods We conducted a multiple-level warming experiment in an alpine meadow on Qingzang Plateau, and monitored plant phenology of two dominant species, including the timing of green up, budding and flowering in 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2021.

Important findings The results showed that plant phenology of different species exhibited various trends under warming. For Kobresia pygmaea, delay in phenological development, including green up, budding and flowering, was positively correlated with temperature increases. However, the timing of phenological stages of Potentilla saundersiana showed advancing first, and then delay with increasing temperature. These results suggest that plant phenology of alpine meadow asynchronously responds to increased temperature. In addition, temperature increase exerts delayed effects on plant phenology over long-term. The structural equation modeling showed that temperature increase consistently delayed the green up of K. pygmaea, and low-level warming advanced phenological development of P. saundersiana, but this advancing trend reversed under high-level warming. Importantly, soil moisture plays a key role in determining the magnitude and direction of phenological response to climate warming in our study. Our findings indicate the asynchronous characteristics of plant phenology response to climate warming in alpine meadow ecosystems, and provide basis to predict responses of high-altitude ecosystems to climate change in the future.

Key words: alpine meadow, asynchronous response, multiple-level warming, plant phenology, temperature sensitivity