Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2012, Vol. 36 ›› Issue (8): 891-898.DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1258.2012.00891

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Advances, trends and challenges in seed bank research for sand dune ecosystems

TANG Yi, LIU Zhi-Min*()   

  1. State Key Laboratory of Forest and Soil Ecology, Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang 110164, China
  • Received:2011-12-07 Accepted:2012-04-30 Online:2012-12-07 Published:2012-08-21
  • Contact: LIU Zhi-Min


Sand dunes, characterized by wind erosion and sand burial, are a unique habitat with particular physical and biological processes. The study of sand dune seed banks is vital to biodiversity conservation and vegetation restoration. However, spatial-temporal patterns, mechanism of formation and ecological function of seed banks in the dune habitat are not fully understood. In recent years, much attention has been paid to these seed banks. Seed bank size and composition are dependent on dune type, position and soil depth. Seasonal and annual patterns of the seed bank are regulated by wind and the rainy season. The seed bank is shaped by diverse disturbances and habitat types. The structure and composition of the seed bank are highly related to plant reproductive strategies of colonizers. Contribution of the seed bank to vegetation restoration varies with dune type. Further studies are needed on 1) regional differences in seed banks, 2) relationship to stages of plant life history, 3) consequences of various disturbances, 4) contribution to vegetation restoration and 5) linkages to sand burial and erosion.

Key words: habitat, plant life history, regenerative strategy, vegetation restoration, wind-sand movement