Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2014, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (7): 694-709.DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1258.2014.00065

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Characteristics of seedling survival in habitats of hill and gully slopes in hill-gully Loess Plateau region of northern Shaanxi

SU Yuan1, JIAO Ju-Ying1,2,*(), WANG Zhi-Jie2   

  1. 1Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Northwest A & F University, Yangling, Shaanxi 712100, China
    2Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Water Resources, Yangling, Shaanxi 712100, China
  • Received:2014-02-17 Accepted:2014-04-10 Online:2014-02-17 Published:2014-07-10
  • Contact: JIAO Ju-Ying


Aims Seedling is the fundament of vegetation restoration succession and plays a very important role in ecosystems. The objective of this paper was to explore the characteristics of seedling survival in habitats of hill and gully slopes in a hill-gully Loess Plateau region.
Methods Fifteen permanent plots in Zhifanggou and Songjiagou watershed in Ansai County were established for sentinel dynamic monitoring, and one-way ANOVA and hierarchical cluster analysis were used to analyze seedling density and survival rate in different habitats.
Important findings There were significant differences in the characteristics of seedling survival among different habitats, with smaller seedling density and higher survival rates observed on the sunny slopes and larger seedling density but lower survival rate found on the shady slopes. In competition for survival, Artemisia gmelinii, Potentilla tanacetifolia, and Heteropappus altaicus etc. took advantage of quality and were characterized by a higher seedling survival rate, while Artemisia scoparia, Ixeris chinensis, Siphonostegia chinensis etc. adopted a strategy of “quantity” and characterized by a higher seedling density. The same species in different habitats had different survival curves, and the same survival curves in different habitats applied to different species. The seedlings of Artemisia gmelinii, Potentilla tanacetifolia, Stipa bungeana, Heteropappus altaicus, and Lespedeza davurica etc. had a strong survival capability in the rainy season and were easy to overwinter successfully, whereas the seedling survival capability in Artemisia scoparia, Dracocephalum moldavica, and Artemisia hedinii etc. was strong prior to the rainy season but weak in winter. The characteristics of seedling survival in different micro-environments also differed. A change in micro-environment affected seedling growth, survival, and overwintering to some extent. Thus, a proper tending for seedlings according to the survival characteristics of species is conducive to the seedling establishment and vegetation succession in the hill-gully Loess Plateau region.

Key words: habitats, micro-environments, seedling survival curves, seedling survival rate, hill-gully region of Loess Plateau