Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2023, Vol. 47 ›› Issue (6): 822-832.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2022.0195

Special Issue: 全球变化与生态系统 生态系统结构与功能 青藏高原植物生态学:群落生态学 生物多样性

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Relationship between plant functional diversity and ecosystem multifunctionality in Bayanbulak alpine meadow along an altitude gradient

LÜ Zi-Li1, LIU Bin1,*(), CHANG Feng1, MA Zi-Jing1, CAO Qiu-Mei2   

  1. 1Xinjiang Key Laboratory of Special Species Conservation and Regulatory Biology, Key Laboratory of Special Environment Biodiversity Application and Regulation in Xinjiang, College of Life Sciences, Xinjiang Normal University, Ürümqi 830054, China
    2Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Ürümqi 830054, China
  • Received:2022-05-16 Accepted:2022-12-09 Online:2023-06-20 Published:2022-12-26
  • Contact: * (
  • About author:** Current workplace: Putian Licheng Middle School, Fujian 351199.
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(32160271)


Aims The relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem function is one of the hotspots in ecological research. In the past, the research on the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem function only focused on the experimental or observational investigation of single ecosystem function (SEF), ignoring the most essential value that ecosystem can provide multiple functions and services at the same time. Identifying the relationship between plant functional diversity and ecosystem multifunctionality (EMF) can provide a clear understanding of changes in ecosystem function.

Methods In this study, Bayanbulak alpine meadow was taken as the study area, and five altitude sites were set at an interval of 200 m from 2 194 to 3 062 m above sea level. Soil total nitrogen content, nitrate nitrogen content, ammonium nitrogen content, total phosphorus content, available phosphorus content, total potassium content, available potassium content, soil density, aboveground and underground biomass of plant community were selected to characterize EMF, which were closely related to nutrient cycling, soil organic carbon accumulation and plant growth.

Important findings (1) The species composition of the plant community varied greatly along the altitude gradient, and the species richness at the altitude of 2 600 m was significantly higher than that at the other altitudes. Functional evenness index (FEve), functional richness index (FRic) and functional dispersion index (FDis) all showed a “single peak” trend with the rise of altitude, and the highest values were found at 2 600, 2 800 and 2 800 m, respectively. Rao’ quadratic entropy (Rao’Q) showed a monotonically decreasing trend. (2) FRic and FDis at each altitude were positively correlated with soil EMF, which accounted for 47% and 43% of the variation in EMF, respectively. FEve was significantly correlated with nutrient cycling index and soil organic carbon storage index at the altitude of 2 600 m. Rao’Q at 3 000 m was significantly correlated with soil nutrient cycling index, organic carbon storage and EMF. The relationship between plant functional diversity and EMF along the altitude gradient was analyzed by constructing a structural equation model, which showed that altitude could exert impacts on EMF through changing functional diversity, with the greatest effect of functional richness on EMF. In conclusion, with the alteration of altitude, the functional diversity may result in changes, thereby affect the SEF and EMF, and the functional diversity is important to maintain the EMF.

Key words: functional diversity, ecosystem multifunctional, single ecosystem function, altitude, alpine meadow