Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2023, Vol. 47 ›› Issue (9): 1256-1269.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2022.0341

Special Issue: 植被生态学

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Meta-analysis of effects of grazing on plant community properties in Nei Mongol grassland

LI Na1, TANG Shi-Ming2, GUO Jian-Ying3, TIAN Ru1, WANG Shan1, HU Bing1, LUO Yong-Hong1, XU Zhu-Wen1,4,*()   

  1. 1Inner Mongolia Key Laboratory of Grassland Ecology, Key Laboratory of Mongolian Plateau Ecology and Resource Utilization, Ministry of Education, School of Ecology and Environment, Inner Mongolia University, Hohhot 010020, China
    2Key Laboratory for Model Innovation in Forage Production Efficiency, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Institute of Grassland Research, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Hohhot 010021, China
    3Yinshan Beilu National Field Research Station of Steppe Eco-hydrological System, China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, Beijing 100038, China
    4Autonomous Region Collaborative Innovation Center for Integrated Management of Water Resources and Water Environment in the Inner Mongolia Reaches of the Yellow River, Hohhot 010018, China
  • Received:2022-08-23 Accepted:2023-03-19 Online:2023-09-20 Published:2023-09-28
  • Contact: * XU Zhu-Wen(
  • Supported by:
    Major Science and Technology Project of Nei Mongol Autonomous Region(2020ZD0009);Major Science and Technology Project of Nei Mongol Autonomous Region(2021ZD0008);Natural Science Foundation of Nei Mongol(2019JQ04);Natural Science Foundation of Nei Mongol(2021MS03081);Special Fund for Transformation of Scientific and Technological the Achievements of Nei Mongol Autonomous Region(2021CG0020)


Aims Grazing, one of the primary ways of grassland utilization in Nei Mongol, has essential influences on plant community properties of grasslands. However, the comprehensive response patterns of Nei Mongol grassland plant community properties to grazing remain unclear.
Methods Based on a dataset derived from 76 studies, the plant community characteristics and soil physicochemical properties of Nei Mongol grasslands under different grazing intensities, different grassland types and different grazing years were integrated and analyzed in order to comprehensively evaluate the response patterns of Nei Mongol grasslands to grazing.
Important findings Our results showed that grazing significantly reduced plant above/below ground biomass, cover, height, density, species richness, Shannon-Wiener diversity index, Pielou evenness index, Simpson diversity index, and soil water content. The negative effects of grazing were strengthened with increasing of grazing intensity and duration. Moreover, grazing had a greater negative effect on the grasslands with sparse vegetation and low environmental carrying capacity (e.g., desert grasslands, sandy areas, etc.). This study shows that the responses of plant community characteristics to grazing in Nei Mongol grasslands are regulated by multiple factors, and appropriate grazing intensity and grazing time should be set according to different types of grasslands to achieve sustainable utilization of grasslands. The standards of grazing intensity in current grazing studies are not uniform, making it difficult to compare different studies, and the results from some studies do not have statistical significance due to a lack of replications in the experiment. The exploration of uniform quantitative standards for grazing intensity will be an important and challenging issue in future grazing studies, and the rationality of experimental design should also be emphasized.

Key words: grazing, Nei Mongol grassland, biomass, species diversity, soil property, meta-analysis