Volume 45 Issue 2
20 February 2021
Photos of scatter-hoarders feeding on the seeds of Fagaceae plants captured by infrared cameras installed on island and mainland forests in the fragmented landscape of the Thousand Island Lake region in Zhejiang Province, eastern China (provided by ZHONG Yu-Chen and ZENG Di). The top two pictures are jays, the bottom two pictures are red-bellied tree squirrels, and the middle picture is a rodent. Using infrared cameras and seed [Detail] ...
    • Review
      Application prospects for combining active and passive observations of chlorophyll fluorescence
      DING Jian-Xi, ZHOU Lei, WANG Yong-Lin, ZHUANG Jie, CHEN Ji-Jing, ZHOU Wen, ZHAO Ning, SONG Jun, CHI Yong-Gang
      Chin J Plant Ecol. 2021, 45 (2):  105-118.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2020.0323
      Abstract ( 252 )   Full Text ( 8 )   PDF (1684KB) ( 101 )   Save
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      Chlorophyll fluorescence (ChlF) is the key to studying the physiological mechanisms of plant photosynthesis, quantifying the spatiotemporal pattern of vegetation photosynthesis, and accurately understanding the productivity of terrestrial ecosystems under the background of climate change. However, few studies have been conducted on combined observations of actively and passively induced ChlF. Here, we compared the advantages and disadvantages of active and passive observations of ChlF and showed the instrument composition of the combined observations of actively and passively induced ChlF at leaf and canopy scales. The application prospects of joint observations of actively and passively induced ChlF focus on exploring energy distribution among photosynthesis, fluorescence and heat dissipation at the chloroplast-leaf-canopy scale, clarifying the mechanism underlying the relationship between ChlF and gross primary productivity, verifying satellite-based sun-induced chlorophyll fluorescence and interpreting the shape of the ChlF spectrum. Our work suggests that the combined observation of actively and passively induced ChlF is essential to reveal the mechanisms underlying the relationships between fluorescence and photosynthesis at various scales and to improve vegetation productivity models at the global scale.

      Research Articles
      Characteristics and influencing factors of Bowen ratio variation in typical terrestrial ecosystems in China
      HUANG Song-Yu, JIA Xin, ZHENG Jia-Jia, YANG Rui-Zhi, MU Yu, YUAN He-Di
      Chin J Plant Ecol. 2021, 45 (2):  119-130.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2019.0301
      Abstract ( 224 )   Full Text ( 6 )   PDF (1578KB) ( 53 )   Save
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      Aims Bowen ratio (β) is an important parameter in land-surface processes. It affects the energy exchange between the surface and the atmosphere. This paper used integrated analyses to investigate the spatial variability and influencing factors of β.
      We collected the published literature on the measurement of surface energy balance by the Eddy Covariance (EC) method carried out in different ecosystem types in China, constructed the database of β and meteorological environment factors and analyzed the difference of β among ecosystems, the spatial variation characteristics of β and its influencing factors.
      Important findings (1) The variation of β follows a lognormal distribution. The average β in all ecosystems was 0.95 ± 0.64, the coefficient of variation of β was 67%, the skewness was 1.58, and the kurtosis was 3.07. The shrub ecosystem has the highest mean value (1.26) and the wetland ecosystem has the lowest (0.49). (2) β is significantly different among ecosystems: β of shrub ecosystems is significantly higher than those in grassland, forest and wetland ecosystems, and β of croplands is between grassland ecosystems and forest with wetland ecosystems. (3) β increases with increasing latitude and does not change with longitude and altitude. For every 1° increase in latitude,β increases by 0.038. (4) β decreases with increase in mean annual precipitation (MAP), mean annual temperature (MAT), net radiation (Rn), precipitation of the studied year (PPT), mean temperature of the studied year (Ta), and leaf area index (LAI). (5) There are significant differences in the response of β to biotic and abiotic factors in different ecosystems: β of grassland, forest and shrub ecosystems are sensitive to changes in biotic and abiotic factors, while β of croplands and wetland ecosystems have no correlations with biotic and abiotic factors. (6) MAPand Rn are the direct factors influencing β. MAT affects βindirectly by affecting MAP, Rn and LAI. LAI affects β indirectly by affectingRn. Our results indicate significant effect of the interaction between vegetation types and climatic factors on β. The most important factor affecting energy distribution is precipitation, and the regulation of leaf area on energy distribution is not significant.

      Characteristics and environmental factors controlling methane emission from a Sphagnum bog with different plant cover types in a subalpine area, southwest of Hubei, China
      MOU Li, WU Lin, LIU Xue-Fei, LI Xiao-Ling, WANG Han, WU Hao, YU Yu-Rong, DU Sheng-Lan
      Chin J Plant Ecol. 2021, 45 (2):  131-143.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2020.0292
      Abstract ( 122 )   Full Text ( 23 )   PDF (1679KB) ( 22 )   Save
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      Aims Wetlands are important sources of atmospheric methane (CH4), but there are few reports on the CH4 emissions of subtropical and subalpine wetlands. In particular, the accurate estimation of CH4 emissions from plots with different types of plant cover and the controlling environmental factors are not clear. The objective of this study is to study characteristics and influencing factors of CH4 emission fluxes from a Sphagnum bog with different plant cover types in a subalpine area, southwest of Hubei Province.
      Methods A Sphagnum bog in the subalpine area in southwest of Hubei Province was selected, and CH4emission fluxes were measured in the Sphagnum bog with three types of plant cover using closed static chamber and gas chromatography method from November 2018 to October 2019. Simultaneously, air temperature, soil temperature of 5 cm depth, and groundwater level were recorded.
      Important findings (1) Under sunlight, the CH4-C fluxes from the bare land plot (B), the Sphagnum paluster plot (S), and the Polytrichum commune plot (P) varied throughout the year within the following ranges: 0.012- 1.372, 0.022-1.474 and 0.027-3.385 mg·m-2·h-1, respectively; under shading treatment, the variation range of CH4-C flux throughout the year from B, S and P plots were 0.012-1.372, 0.009-1.839 and 0.017-2.484 mg·m-2·h-1, respectively, indicating CH4emission sources for all types. At the same time, for all plant cover types, CH4 emissions under sunlight conditions were slightly higher than those under dark conditions, but the difference was not significant. (2) For all plant cover types, CH4 emissions showed obvious seasonal variations, with the order of summer > autumn > spring > winter; and summer emissions were significantly greater than emissions in other seasons, accounting for about 57% to 84% of the annual cumulative flux. This study found that the flux of CH4 emission was highly related to air temperature and soil temperature of 5 cm depth showing exponential relationships, which indicated that temperature is the main environment factor affecting the temporal variations of CH4 emission from the Sphagnum bog. (3) Plant cover types significantly affected CH4 emissions from theSphagnum bog. The annual average and cumulative CH4 emissions from the three cover types were in the order of: P > S > B. P plot showed significantly higher emission than B plot. This study found a significant correlation between vegetation types and CH4 emissions, indicating that plant cover type is the main influencing factor of the spatial variations of CH4 emissions from the Sphagnum bog. (4) CH4 emissions were not significantly related to the groundwater levels. This study further enriched the mechanisms of CH4 emission in the Sphagnum bog and provided basic data for regional carbon cycling.

      Effects of sand burial on litter decomposition rate and salt content dynamics in an extremely arid region
      Fan Lin-Jie, LI Cheng-Dao, LI Xiang-Yi, Henry J. SUN, LIN Li-Sha, LIU Bo
      Chin J Plant Ecol. 2021, 45 (2):  144-153.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2020.0273
      Abstract ( 127 )   Full Text ( 14 )   PDF (1338KB) ( 23 )   Save
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      Aims Due to the extremely low precipitation, low vegetation coverage, strong solar radiation, and poor soil stability, litter turnover in extremely arid areas differs from that in non-arid areas. This study aimed to determine the patterns of leaf litter decomposition of contrasting initial qualities in an extremely arid region.
      Methods We used the litter bag method to investigate changes of the mass and water-soluble salt content in the leaf litter of three dominant species, Karelinia caspia, Alhagi sparsifoliaand Populus euphratica,in the desert- oasis transitional zone of the southern edge of the Taklimakan Desert, in responses to three levels of sand burial treatments, including placement of letter samples at the surface, and 2 cm and 15 cm soil depths, respectively, that represented different incubation environments under natural conditions.
      Important findings The relationships of litter decomposition rate with the initial litter quality indicators, including carbon (C) content, nitrogen (N) content, C:N and lignin content, differed between the extremely arid sites and the non-arid sites. The litter placed on the surface had higher lignin content and faster mass loss than those subjected to other treatments. The losses of litter mass and changes in water-soluble salt content significantly varied with the level of burial treatments. Litter samples placed on the surface and at 2 cm depth had a significantly greater rate of losses in mass and water-soluble salt content than those at 15 cm depth. The surface litter had a greater amount of dissolved water-soluble salt in the early stage of decomposition. This study shows that the driving mechanism of litter decomposition in the extremely arid areas is unique. Under conditions of extremely low precipitation and the low activity of soil microorganisms, the buried depth is not the main factor driving the litter decomposition, whilst other abiotic processes such as solar radiation controlled the rate of decomposition.

      Seed predation and dispersal pattern of Fagaceae species in a fragmented landscape, eastern China
      ZHONG Yu-Chen, WANG Bin, FANG Zhong-Ping, XU Xiao-Zhong, YU Ming-Jian
      Chin J Plant Ecol. 2021, 45 (2):  154-162.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2020.0079
      Abstract ( 264 )   Full Text ( 5 )   PDF (3931KB) ( 37 )   Save
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      Aims Due to the area effect and edge effect, habitat fragmentation can alter competition intensity, foraging behavior and shelter condition of scatter-hoarders, and consequently affect seed predation and dispersal patterns. Though there have been some studies focusing on seed dispersal in fragmented landscapes, few studies have compared the effects of habitat fragmentation on seed predation and dispersal among multiple species.
      Methods To explore how species identity, abundance of scatter-hoarders, seed production, island size and edge effect work together to influence seed fates and dispersal distance, we conducted seed predation and dispersal experiments for six Fagaceae species in the island and mainland forests of the Thousand Island Lake region in Zhejiang Province, eastern China.
      Important findings (1) There were significant differences in seed fates and dispersal distance among six Fagaceae species. (2) Seeds were removed faster on the islands than on the mainland, and even faster on smaller islands than on larger islands. Further, seeds were removed faster at the island edges than in the interiors. (3) There was a significant interactive effect between island size and species identity on the probability of seeds eaten in situ. More seeds of Quercus fabri were eaten in situ on larger islands. (4) Seeds had the highest probability of removal on small islands; the relative abundance of scatter-hoarders had a negative effect on the probability of seeds cached. These findings implied that habitat fragmentation altered seed predation and dispersal patterns, and that area effect posed species-specific effects on seed predation and dispersal patterns, which would contribute to forest regeneration and biodiversity maintenance.

      Latitudinal variability and driving factors of functional diversity in Pinus thunbergiicommunities across sea-islands in Eastern China
      SHI Jiao-Xing, XU Ming-Shan, FANG Xiao-Chen, ZHENG Li-Ting, ZHANG Yu, BAO Di-Feng, YANG An-Na, YAN En-Rong
      Chin J Plant Ecol. 2021, 45 (2):  163-173.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2020.0227
      Abstract ( 127 )   Full Text ( 6 )   PDF (1573KB) ( 20 )   Save
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      Aims The Pinus thunbergii communities is widespread across islands in both Yellow Sea and East China Sea. The objective of this study is to examine the latitudinal pattern of functional diversity and abiotic and biotic drivers of P. thunbergii communities. Our aims are to advance understanding of whether the zonal character of latitude oriented pattern of biodiversity still holds in the same community type across the highly isolated and fragmented landscape.
      Methods We investigated community structure and measured plant functional traits across 60 P. thunbergii communities in 27 islands, spanning 13 degree in latitudes of Eastern China. Linear regression was used to analyze the relationships between functional diversity of the P. thunbergii community and each of the biotic factors (the dominance of P. thunbergii and species diversity) and abiotic factors (annual mean temperature, total solar radiation and aridity index). The relative importance of abiotic and biotic factors on the functional diversity of P. thunbergii communities was determined by using the generalized linear model and variance decomposition.
      Important findings With the increasing latitude, the dominance of P. thunbergii,species richness, and functional richness, functional dispersion and Rao's quadratic entropy (RaoQ) of stem traits alone and stem and leaf traits in combination decreased significantly but those of leaf traits did not show clear trend, across P. thunbergii communities. The dominance of P. thunbergii, species richness and climatic factors jointly explained 63%, 47% and 39% of variation in each of functional richness, functional dispersion and RaoQ of the combination of leaf and stem traits, and 56%, 67% and 53% of variation in each of functional richness, functional dispersion and RaoQ of stem traits, but small variations in leaf traits (21%-30%). Species richness and Simpson diversity significantly increased but Shannon-Wiener diversity significantly decreased leaf functional richness. Aridity significantly increased functional diversity of stem traits and the combination of leaf and stem traits. Annual mean temperature significantly decreased functional dispersion and RaoQ of wood traits. These results indicate that there is a clear latitudinal pattern of functional diversity in P. thunbergii communities across islands. Climate and species richness play the key roles for shaping the latitudinal variations in functional diversity of P. thunbergii communities across islands in Eastern China.

      Surface sporopollen and modern vegetation in Hongshanzui area, Altai, Xinjiang, China
      LI Yuan-Yuan, ZHANG Yun, KONG Zhao-Chen, YANG Zhen-Jing
      Chin J Plant Ecol. 2021, 45 (2):  174-186.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2020.0195
      Abstract ( 70 )   Full Text ( 2 )   PDF (3935KB) ( 13 )   Save
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      Aims Our aims are 1) to explore the relationship between vegetation and sporopollen in the surface soil in the Hongshanzui area, which is located in the middle slope of the Altai Mountains, 2) to compare different sporopollen assemblages zones between the Hongshanzui area and the Kanas region, which is located in the western slope of the Altai Mountains of Xinjiang, and 3) to explore the relationships between surface sporopollen and environmental factors.
      Methods We collected 37 surface soil samples and carried out modern vegetation survey in the Hongshanzui area along an altitudinal gradient from 745 to 2 413 m. Mathematical statistics and redundancy analysis (RDA) were applied to analyze the distribution pattern of sporopollen in surface soil and its relationships with modern vegetation.
      Important findings The results showed that the sporopollen spectrum of surface soil in Hongshanzui area was divided into four zones from top to bottom along the altitudinal gradient, corresponding to the major vegetation types in this region, including subalpine meadow, mountain coniferous forest, shrub steppe and desert steppe. The typical tree species, Picea and Pinus pollen, and shrub species Ephedra,herbs Amaranthaceae and Artemisia,were extra representation in the region, mainly because of the impact of wind and rivers in sporopollen dispersal. Larix,Poaceae, and Cyperaceae had low representations in communities where they were dominant species. Many previous sporopollen studies have shown that the ratio of the percentage of pollen content ofArtemisia to Amaranthaceae (Ar/Am) was a good indicator of the degree of humidity in the semi-arid and arid areas. Our study confirms that Ar/Am roughly corresponded to the wet and dry conditions of the climate vertical zone in this area. To some extent, the low Ar/Am ratio for shrub steppe also reflected the influence of human activities on shrub steppe. Compared with the western slope of Kanas, the characteristics of sporopollen assemblage zones in the Hongshanzui region were incomplete, and the distribution height of similar sporopollen zones in this area was higher than that on the western slope of Kanas. In addition, the results of RDA on sporopollen assemblages and environmental factors (mean annual temperature (MAT), mean annual precipitation (MAP) and altitude (ALT)) revealed that the MAP was the main environmental factor affecting sporopollen assemblages in the surface soil in the Hongshanzui region.

      Stomatal traits of main greening plant species in Lanzhou
      YANG Ke-Tong, CHANG Hai-Long, CHEN Guo-Peng, YU Xiao-Ya, XIAN Jun-Ren
      Chin J Plant Ecol. 2021, 45 (2):  187-196.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2020.0257
      Abstract ( 180 )   Full Text ( 4 )   PDF (1704KB) ( 74 )   Save
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      Aims Stomata are the main channels for water and gas exchange between plants and the atmosphere. Stomatal traits reflect plant responses to environmental changes, and thus could help us better understand plant adaptation strategies to arid environments.
      Methods In July 2019, six traits for stomata were measured from 40 main greening plant species in Lanzhou, Gansu Province. One-way ANOVA was used to test the traits difference among the growth forms (tree, semi-tree, shrub and herb) and leaf habits (deciduous and evergreen). Standardized major axis estimation and phylogenetically independent contrast analysis were used to compare the allometry relationship between stomatal traits. Then the Blomberg’sK value was calculated to determine phylogenetic signal. Functional groups were partition by k-means clustering and principal component analysis.
      Important findings The stomatal traits varied significantly among greening plant species. Different growth forms (trees, semi-trees, shrubs and herbs) showed significant variations in stomatal length (SL), width (SW), opening level (SOL) and density (SD), while deciduous and evergreen plants only differed in SOL. Significant allometric relations were detected between SL vs. SW, SOL vs. SA. We also observed negative allometric relations between SD vs. SA and SD vs. SOL. Phylogeny significantly influenced the correlations among stomatal traits. Although the phylogenetic conservatism of stomatal traits was not strong (K< 1),SOL and stomatal opening ratio (SOR) showed significant phylogenetic signals (p < 0.05). According to the stomatal traits, greening plants can be divided into three functional groups: lower-density with larger area, higher-density with smaller area, or medium- density with moderate area. The combination of phylogeny and allometric scaling relations can provide a better explanation for stomatal trait variations and adaptation strategies.

      Effects of warming on soil phosphorus fractions and their contributions to available phosphorus in south subtropical forests
      JIANG Fen, HUANG Juan, CHU Guo-Wei, CHENG Yan, LIU Xu-Jun, LIU Ju-Xiu, LIE Zhi-Yang
      Chin J Plant Ecol. 2021, 45 (2):  197-206.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2020.0263
      Abstract ( 115 )   Full Text ( 7 )   PDF (1134KB) ( 37 )   Save
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      Aims Phosphorus (P) is generally considered to be the important limiting element for forest ecosystem productivity. The availability of soil P depends on the existing fractions of P and their transformation processes. Many researches showed that warming increases soil available P concentration. However, it is still uncertain that how warming increases soil available P concentration through regulating the P cycle processes. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of warming on concentration of different soil P fractions and to explore the relationships between different soil P fractions and available P concentration, thus identifying the important P fractions contributing to the increased available P concentration and its corresponding mechanisms under warming.
      Methods A field warming experiment was conducted by translocating model forest ecosystems from 300 m to 30 m in south subtropical area. Soils with different treatments at 0-10, 10-20 and 20-40 cm depth were collected, respectively, and then different soil P fractions were separated by continuous extraction method applied in acid soils. The correlation analysis and path analysis were performed to explore the relationships between different soil P fractions and available P concentration in the soils.
      Important findings The results showed that warming significantly increased the concentrations of inorganic P associated with calcium (Ca-Pi) at 0-10 cm depth and inorganic P concentration associated with iron (Fe-Pi) and total inorganic P concentration at 20-40 cm depth by 65.5%, 17.9% and 18.5%, respectively. However, it had no significant effects on total organic P and all organic P fractions. The correlation analysis results showed that available P concentration was significantly positively correlated with all inorganic P fractions and organic P associated with aluminum and iron. Furthermore, the correlation between available P and Fe-Pi concentration was the strongest. In addition, the path analysis highlights that inorganic P associated with aluminum and Fe-Pi were the important intermediate transitional P fractions in the conversion process of soil P, and Fe-Pi was the greatest direct contributor to the increased available P. Based on the results of previous studies, we propose that warming probably not only increased the input of plant litter P to soil P, but also strengthened desorption and dissolution processes, facilitating more dissolved P converted to moderately available P fractions including Fe-Pi and Ca-Pi. Furthermore, Fe-Pi may become the most important contributor of available P in south subtropical forests under warming.

      Data Paper
      Structural characteristics of Keteleeria davidiana forest communities in Xinping, Yunnan
      CHUAN Hui-Yan, JIA Dong-Rui, PU Jiang, ZHANG Cui-Ping, LI Shu-Ying, ZHOU Yuan-Qing
      Chin J Plant Ecol. 2021, 45 (2):  207-212.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2020.0196
      Abstract ( 92 )   Full Text ( 3 )   PDF (1584KB) ( 36 )   Save
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      Aims Understanding the population quantity and distribution of a drought-resistant plant, Keteleeria davidiana, can assist the protection of this rare and endangered species.
      Methods The K. davidiana forest communities were investigated in dry land of 6 townships in Xinping County, Yunnan Province, in three 20 m × 20 m plots for each township, and analyzed for structural characteristics in consideration of species composition and life-forms.
      Important findings We found 163 vascular plants belonging to 131 genera and 58 families in the plots with a total area of 7 200 m2. The communities are classified into 12 zonal types containing predominantly tropical and endemic species to China, dominated by the tropical components. Trees and shrubs (accounted for 62.58%) are dominant life-forms, followed by perennial herb. Based on the foundation species and life-form, the data of 18 vegetation plots were classified into 3 formations and 17 community types. The analysis of stumpage structure showed that the population structure of K. davidiana tended to recess, and the natural populations are small. If lacks sufficient regeneration seedlings, the K. davidiana trees would decline and diminish from the communities.

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