Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2022, Vol. 46 ›› Issue (9): 1077-1085.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2021.0481

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Effects of air and soil humidification on the growth of young Pinus sylvestris var. mongolica trees in semi-arid area of Nei Mongol, China

LI Yi-Ding1, SANG Qing-Tian1, ZHANG Hao2, LIU Long-Chang1, PAN Qing-Min3, WANG Yu1,*(), LIU Wei3,*(), YUAN Wen-Ping4   

  1. 1College of Horticulture and Plant Protection, Henan University of Science and Technology, Luoyang, Henan 471000, China
    2School of Ecology and Environment, Inner Mongolia University, Hohhot 010021, China
    3State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
    4School of Atmospheric Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Zhuhai, Guangdong 519082, China
  • Received:2021-12-17 Accepted:2022-04-13 Online:2022-09-20 Published:2022-10-19
  • Contact: WANG Yu,LIU Wei
  • About author: (Wang Y,;
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41805084)


Aims Arid and semi-arid areas account for about 30% of the total global land area. Plant growth in these areas is more susceptible to drought stress. Both atmospheric drought and soil drought can affect plant growth. Although there have been many experimental studies on the effects of atmospheric drought and soil drought on plant growth, the specific mechanism is not clear.

Methods In this study, the differential effects of air and soil humidification on the growth characteristics of young Pinus sylvestris var. mongolicatrees were investigated by manipulation experiments of altering air humidity and soil water content.

Important findings The results showed that: 1) Compared with the control, air humidification significantly reduced vapor pressure deficit by 20.5%, and air humidification and soil humidification significantly increased soil moisture by 23.4% and 21.3%, respectively; 2) Air humidification significantly increased leaf density, soil humidification significantly increased twig diameter, and air and soil humidification significantly promoted the growth of leaves and twigs; 3) Taking into consideration of the effect of humidification treatment on radial growth and the analysis with structural equation model, the results showed that soil humidification directly promoted the stem radial growth, and the significant positive effects of air humidification on radial growth is due to the direct effect of the decrease in vapor pressure deficit, and the indirect effect in the increase of soil moisture caused by air humidification. This study revealed distinct responses of young P. sylvestris var. mongolica tree growth to atmospheric water and soil water changes.

Key words: drought, vapor pressure deficit, soil moisture, leaf growth, twig growth, stem radial growth