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Table of Content
    Volume 45 Issue 3
    20 March 2021
    Epiphytic lichens in the subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forests in the Ailao Mountains, Yunnan, China (Photographed by DONG Lin-Lin). Upper left: Cyanolichen Leptogium menziesii, Upper right: Broadly lobed foliose chlorolichens Lobaria isidiophora; Bottom left: Pendent fruticose chlorolichens Usnea dasopoga; Bottom middle: Narrowly lobed foliose chlo [Detail] ...
    Research Articles
    NDVIdynamics and driving climatic factors in the Protected Zones for Ecological Functions in China
    XU Guang-Lai, LI Ai-Juan, XU Xiao-Hua, YANG Xian-Cheng, YANG Qiang-Qiang
    Chin J Plant Ecol. 2021, 45 (3):  213-223.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2020.0096
    Abstract ( 1027 )   Full Text ( 59 )   PDF (1669KB) ( 1096 )   Save
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    Aims This study demonstrates the consistencies and discrepancies of correlations between climate factors and normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) in the Protected Zones for Ecological Functions (EFPZs) in China, which provide useful information for monitoring in subsequent studies of vegetation dynamics.
    Methods Based on the MODISNDVI data and the grid data for monthly precipitation and air temperatures from 2000 to 2015, the dynamics of NDVI and correlations with climatic factors were examined across 46 EFPZs at two spatial scales, by individual EFPZs and the pixels, using linear tendency and partial correlation methods. In accordance to the analyses, the EFPZs were categorized into different types of climatic influences.
    Important findings The overall NDVI across the EFPZs showed an increasing trend, with the average linear slope of 0.045·a-1. Pixel scale analysis showed that NDVIincreased significantly in the central regions and the northeast of China. Partial correlation coefficients between NDVI and precipitation in the EFPZs varied between -0.30 to 0.72, and were positive for 32 in the EFPZs. Partial correlation between NDVI and air temperature ranged from -0.36 to 0.92, with positive correlations in 39 in the EFPZs. In 50.6% of the pixels, NDVIwas positively correlated with precipitation, mainly in northeast and northwest China. In 64.6% of the pixels,NDVI was positively correlated with air temperatures, mainly in the northeastern and the northern edge of the Qingzang Plateau. Strong temperature-precipitation driving is the main type of climatic influences on NDVI changes across the EFPZs, accounting for 38.7% of the total, with temperature driving type being secondary, accounting for 27.3%; non-climatic driving type accounts for 17.6%. Our results show the NDVI in the EFPZs are significantly correlated with climatic factors concerning precipitation and air temperatures, and that NDVI dynamics in 82.4% of the areas are driven by climate factors. Studying the changes in NDVI and the responses of NDVI to climate factors is very important for understanding the dynamics of vegetation in the EFPZs under climate warming.

    Vegetation geography of evergreen broad-leaved forests in Yunnan, southwestern China
    ZHU Hua
    Chin J Plant Ecol. 2021, 45 (3):  224-241.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2020.0302
    Abstract ( 1868 )   Full Text ( 53 )   PDF (1215KB) ( 1305 )   Save
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    Aims Yunnan in southwestern China supports an extremely rich biodiversity and various vegetation types dominated by evergreen broad-leaved forest. Of these, three major types—monsoon evergreen broad-leaved forest (MEB), semi-wet evergreen broad-leaved forest (SWEB) and middle-montane wet evergreen broad-leaved forest (MMEB)—have not had a detailed scientific comparison. This article compares their floristic composition, species diversity, physiognomy, biogeography, and possible historical evolution, and gives suggestions for their conservation priorities.
    Methods Six 1 hm2 sampling plots, representing the three evergreen broad-leaved forests in Yunnan, were set up based on the present distribution of primary forest. All trees in each plot were identified and their diameter at breast height (DBH)(minimum 5 cm) and height measured. In four plots, all plants, including understory shrubs, herbs, lianas, and epiphytes, were surveyed for life forms and biogeographical element analyses at plot level. Importance value indices (IVI) of tree species were calculated for each plot. At the vegetation level, all seed plants for the three major vegetation types were inventoried to compare their floristic composition and biogeography.
    Important findings At plot level, the three forest types differ considerably in species composition, diversity, physiognomy, and biogeography, although they are commonly dominated by species of the families Fagaceae, Lauraceae and Theaceae. The MEB in southern Yunnan is extremely rich in species and is characterized by a tropical physiognomy. It is dominated by tropical Asian species, which is similar to the tropical lower montane evergreen forest in southeast Asia. The SWEB on plateaus and the MMEB in central and northern Yunnan are characterized by a subtropical physiognomy and are dominated by Sino-Himalayan and Chinese endemic species, which are unique in southwestern China. At the vegetation sub-type level, the three forest types commonly have species-rich families, which tend to have cosmopolitan distributions, but the families with fewer species exhibit other distribution types. The SWEB and the MMEB showed similar biogeographical patterns in the proportions of tropical (44.91% and 44.04%, respectively) and temperate (46.29% and 48.19%) elements, with northern temperate distributions comprising the highest percentage (18.36% in the SWEB and 19.95% in the MMEB) of total genera. In MEB, tropical elements comprised 78.05% of the total genera, with elements with tropical Asian distributions contributing the highest percentage (29.02%). Similarity between SWEB and MMEB was high at species level, but lower similarities were shown between MEB and both of the SWEB and MMEB with 17.1% and 15.4% respectively at species levels. These results indicate divergence of the three forest floras, possibly from events in the geological history of Yunnan. The SWEB and the MMEB should be given high conservation values due to their uniqueness and abundant Chinese endemic species. Especially, the SWEB should be given the highest protection.

    Leaf and fine root economics spectrum across 49 woody plant species in Wuyi Mountains
    WANG Zhao-Ying, CHEN Xiao-Ping, CHENG Ying, WANG Man-Tang, ZHONG Quan-Lin, LI Man, CHENG Dong-Liang
    Chin J Plant Ecol. 2021, 45 (3):  242-252.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2020.0280
    Abstract ( 1473 )   Full Text ( 54 )   PDF (1307KB) ( 1611 )   Save
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    Aims The plant economics spectrum would explain the trade-off strategies of vascular plants between resource acquisition and resource storage, and provide a scientific basis for understanding the mechanisms of niche differentiation and species coexistence.
    Methods In this study, we measured leaf/root traits of 49 woody plants species in Wuyi Mountains, including individual leaf area (ILA), specific leaf area (SLA), leaf carbon content (LCC), leaf nitrogen content (LNC) and leaf phosphorus content (LPC), root tissue density (RTD), specific root length (SRL), specific root surface area (SRA), root carbon content (RCC), root nitrogen content (RNC) and root phosphorus content (RPC). Then, we detected if the leaf and fine root economics spectrum of the plants exist, and analyzed the differences of the plant economics spectrum between evergreen and deciduous species.
    Important findings The results showed that along the PC1 axis, a leaf economics spectrum (LES), a root economics spectrum (RES) and a whole-plant economics spectrum (WPES) can be defined, respectively. Most of the evergreen species were on the conservative side, while deciduous species, on the acquisitive side of the economics spectrum. There were significant positive correlations among the scores of leaf PC1, root PC1 and whole-plant PC1. In the relationships, evergreen and deciduous species shared common scaling exponents, but common scaling constants lack, revealing that the leaf and root strategies of the subtropical species are coordinated toward the integration of WPES. The evergreen and deciduous species distributed at different sides of the economics spectrum are in different ways to construct the WPES.

    Effects of needle age on leaf traits and their correlations of Pinus koraiensis across different regions
    ZHANG Zi-Yan, JIN Guang-Ze, LIU Zhi-Li
    Chin J Plant Ecol. 2021, 45 (3):  253-264.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2020.0352
    Abstract ( 910 )   Full Text ( 47 )   PDF (988KB) ( 950 )   Save
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    Aims Leaf age is an important factor affecting trait variation during ontogenetic development of plants. The variation of traits across a gradient of leaf ages can reflect the response of plants to environmental changes. Our aim was to investigate the variation of needle morphological traits of Pinus koraiensis at different needle ages and the influence of latitude and needle age on the correlation of morphological traits.
    Methods In this study, adult Korean pine (Pinus koraiensis) of four mixed broadleaved-Korean pine forests in northeast China was selected as the research object. We measured the leaf lifespan, as well as specific leaf area (SLA), leaf dry matter content (LDMC), needle density (ND) and needle volume (NV) of needles at different ages. The correlation between morphological traits of pine leaves was discussed and the effects of latitude and needle age on these correlations were examined.
    Important findings (1) Leaf lifespan of P. koraiensis significantly varied with latitudes, and showed a unimodal pattern with increasing latitude. (2) Needle age accounted for the largest proportion (34.2%-80.1%) in trait variations, and had a significant influence on all the four leaf morphological traits. SLA, LDMC and ND of the current year leaves showed higher plasticity than other age classes, while NVshowed high plasticity at all age classes. (3) Most of these trait-trait correlations were significant at different latitudes, while the patterns of slopes of the regression lines among traits did vary across the latitudinal gradient. (4) The correlations among traits within different needle ages classes were all significant, but showing different patterns across needle ages. For example, the regression slope of SLA and NDdecreased with the increase of needle age, while the regression slope of ND and NV was opposite. The results showed that the variation and correlation of morphological traits were significantly influenced by latitude and needle age, the collaboration among these traits responded to the environmental changes at different latitudes, and the resource utilization strategies of needles were different in different ages.

    Analyzing leaf anatomical structure of dominant species Stipa purpurea adapting to alpine and drought environment at Qingzang Plateau
    WU Jian-Bo, WANG Xiao-Dan
    Chin J Plant Ecol. 2021, 45 (3):  265-273.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2020.0322
    Abstract ( 973 )   Full Text ( 27 )   PDF (1287KB) ( 902 )   Save
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    Aims The anatomical structure of plant leaves could be a direct reflection of the plant’s mechanism of response and adaptation to climate change. The distribution of alpine steppe has increased due to climatic warming over the Qingzang Plateau.Stipa purpurea is the dominant species of alpine steppe. However, few studies have been conducted on the adaptation mechanisms of alpine steppe plants. In this study, we analyzed the characteristics of leaf anatomical structure among different populations of S. purpurea and the relationship between these characteristics and climatic factors over the Qingzang Plateau. The ultimate aim was to identify the mechanism by which S. purpurea acclimatizes to alpine environments.
    Methods Leaves of S. purpurea were collected from eight sites on the Qingzang Plateau and fixed using FAA fixative solution. Then, the leaves were paraffin wax sectioned and double-stained. Samples were then observed with a microscope and photographed with a digital camera. The area and thickness of leaf anatomical structure were measured with the soft (Image-pro plus 6.0).
    Important findings Leaves of S. purpurea generally had thick cuticles, which were able to reduce water loss and radiation exposure. From the results of one-way analysis of variance, there were significant differences among the eight populations in collenchymatous cell thickness, vessel diameter, bundle catheter cavity area/bundle of the main vascular area, and vascular area/leaf cross-sectional area, which were beneficial characteristics for S. purpurea in adapting to the local environment. The characteristics of leaf anatomical structure were significantly correlated with environmental factors via Pearson’s analysis and cluster analysis. The results from principal component analysis and redundancy analysis showed that the anatomical structures in arid regions were mainly affected by annual evaporation, and those in semi-humid regions were mainly affected by the average precipitation humidity index and annual precipitation/annual evaporation during the growing season. In conclusion, to adapt to the alpine and arid environment,S. purpurea has reduced water loss by simultaneously increasing its collenchymatous cell thickness and water-conducting tissue area (vessel diameter, bundle catheter cavity area/bundle of main vascular area, and vascular bundle area/leaf cross-sectional area).

    Pressure-volume curve analysis of epiphytic lichens and its applicability in subtropical forests
    DONG Lin-Lin, PU Xiao-Yan, ZHANG Lu-Lu, SONG Liang, LU Zhi-Yun, LI Su
    Chin J Plant Ecol. 2021, 45 (3):  274-285.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2020.0344
    Abstract ( 745 )   Full Text ( 20 )   PDF (1856KB) ( 645 )   Save
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    Aims Epiphytic lichens are a widespread and significant component of forest ecosystems, and play an important role in biodiversity maintaining and water and nutrient cycling. This study aims to illustrate the water potential characteristics of the epiphytic lichen group and to assess whether the pressure-volume (PV) curve and relative parameters are suitable for exploring the response of lichens to drought stress.
    Methods The water potential parameters and PV curves of 15 epiphytic lichen species from five functional groups were measured in the subtropical forests in the Ailao Mountains, Yunnan Province.
    Important findings The internal water content (WCinternal) and symplast water content (Rs) of cyanolichens were significantly higher than those of chlorolichens, while other parameters showed no significant differences. We only observed significant differences in WCinternal, Rs and relative water content at turgor loss point (RWCTLP) among different functional groups of lichens. All parameters differed significantly among species. Results of principal component analysis (PCA) further indicated that there are extensive limitations for PV curves and water potential parameters in evaluating the overall response of lichen species to water stress and in revealing the selection strategy of water-related habitats, largely due to the influence of the photobiont type and growth form. However, the adaptation strategies of cyanolichens to habitat could be explained by the maximum internal water holding capacity, while the adaptation to water conditions could be explained by the saturated water osmotic potential (Ψsat) in narrowly lobed foliose lichens, and by the RWCTLP in broadly lobed foliose and fruticose lichens. Our study suggests that PV curves and water potential parameters are not suitable for the general evaluation of the drought resistance of lichen communities, and should be used carefully in comparing the drought resistances between lichens and other plant groups.

    Mechanism of the trade-off between biological nitrogen fixation and phosphorus acquisition strategies of herbaceous legumes under nitrogen and phosphorus addition
    LI Qiang, HUANG Ying-Xin, ZHOU Dao-Wei, CONG Shan
    Chin J Plant Ecol. 2021, 45 (3):  286-297.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2020.0241
    Abstract ( 969 )   Full Text ( 37 )   PDF (770KB) ( 1304 )   Save
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    Aims Nitrogen fixation of herbaceous legumes is not only an important natural nitrogen (N) input to terrestrial ecosystems, but also determines the economy and sustainability of grassland production. This study aimed to determine the underlying physiological and ecological mechanisms of the interaction between N and phosphorus (P) on biological N fixation rate of legumes.
    Methods In a pot experiment, eight species of herbaceous legumes were separately grown in soils with four treatments including no fertiliser, N addition, P addition, and both N and P (NP) addition. Plant biomass and nutrients concentrations, root carbohydrate concentration, pH in rhizosphere, citric concentration in in rhizosphere, avaiable P concentration in rhizosphere, root nodule biomass, P concentration in root nodule, and N fixation rate of these legume plants were examined.
    Important findings Depending on legume species, N addition significantly increased relative rhizosphere P mobilization, but reduced investment in root biomass and the concentration of non-structural carbohydrate (NSC) in roots. Averaged results of N addition and NP addition treatments indicated that N addition caused 27%-36% decline in nodule biomass and 20%-33% decline in biological N fixation rate for the studied eight legume species. By contrast, P addition significantly promoted root development and NSC accumulation associated with decreasing relative rhizosphere P mobilization. Consequently, P addition increased the biological N fixation rate of the eight legume species by 45%-69% and 0-47% with and without N fertilization, respectively. We concluded that N addition reduced biological N fixation rate via reducing root biomass and root NSC concentration and increasing rhizosphere P mobilization; P addition helped to improve soil N-P balance and promote root growth and NSC accumulation, which can alleviate the inhibition of biological N fixation by N fertilization.

    Effects of long-term simulated acid rain on soil microbial community structure in a monsoon evergreen broad-leaved forest in southern China
    HU Yuan-Liu, CHEN Guo-Yin, CHEN Jing-Wen, SUN Lian-Wei, LI Jian-Ling, DOU Ning, ZHANG De-Qiang, DENG Qi
    Chin J Plant Ecol. 2021, 45 (3):  298-308.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2020.0217
    Abstract ( 658 )   Full Text ( 13 )   PDF (552KB) ( 794 )   Save
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    Aims Soil microorganisms are an important component of terrestrial ecosystems and play a critical role in regulating multiple ecological processes such as nutrient acquisition, carbon cycle, and soil formation, especially in the tropical forests where soils are highly weathered with poor nutrients. The objective of this study was to examine the response of soil microbial community under long-term simulated acid rain (SAR) and investigate the most important factors influencing microbial community structure.
    Methods Based on a long-term (10-year) field SAR experiment, we investigate the response of soil microbial community structure to soil acidification in the south subtropical monsoon evergreen broad-leaved forest of Dinghushan National Nature Reserve. Four levels of SAR treatments were set by adding the following amount of H+: 0 (CK), 9.6, 32 and 96 mol·hm-2·a-1.
    Important findings 1) The SAR treatment significantly reduced the pH value of soil (i.e., increased soil acidification). 2) Soil acidification did not significantly influence microbial carbon (C) content, but changed microbial nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) contents, leading to significant increases in microbial C:P and N:P in topsoil (0-10 cm). This result indicated that soil acidification might aggravate microbial P limitation. 3) Soil acidification also altered the microbial community structure and significantly increased the fungal/bacterial ratio in the subsoil (10-20 cm). Further analysis showed that soil pH and available P content were the most important factors affecting the soil microbial communities under the SAR treatment.

    Soil enzyme activities and their influencing factors in a desert steppe of northwestern China under changing precipitation regimes and nitrogen addition
    ZHU Wan-Wan, WANG Pan, XU Yi-Xin, LI Chun-Huan, YU Hai-Long, HUANG Ju-Ying
    Chin J Plant Ecol. 2021, 45 (3):  309-320.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2020.0264
    Abstract ( 817 )   Full Text ( 69 )   PDF (1543KB) ( 862 )   Save
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    Aims Soil enzymes, which are mainly produced by plant roots and soil microbes, involve in the organic matter degradation and element cycling and other key processes in plant-soil systems. Study on the relationships between soil enzyme activity and plant community composition and microbial activity under changing precipitation pattern and increasing nitrogen (N) deposition can provide a new insight for evaluating the influencing mechanism of global change on the biogeochemical cycling in plant-soil systems.
    Methods Based on a field experiment involving five precipitation treatments (50% reduction, 30% reduction, natural precipitation, 30% increase, and 50% increase) and two N addition treatments (0 and 5 g·m-2·a-1) conducted in a desert steppe of Ningxia since 2017, the changes of soil enzyme activities (sucrase, urease, and phosphatase) were studied and their relationships with plant community composition and microbial ecological stoichiometry were analyzed in 2018 and 2019.
    Important findings Compared with decreasing precipitation, increasing precipitation had greater impacts on the three enzyme activities, but its effects were interacted with N addition and sampling year. Increasing precipitation had no significant impacts on the three enzyme activities in 2018, but enhanced them in 2019. By contrast, N addition had less influences on the three enzyme activities, especially in 2019. The biomass of Astragalus melilotoides was negatively correlated with urease and phosphatase activities, while the biomass of Cleistogenes squarrosa had positive correlation with the three enzyme activities. Except the Patrick richness index, plant community diversity indices were generally negatively correlated with the three enzyme activities. Soil enzyme activities were more greatly affected by soil pH, soil total phosphorus (P), and microbial biomass carbon (C):N:P. Therefore, short-term precipitation change and N addition have little effects on the soil enzymes in the studied desert steppe (especially under reducing precipitation); increasing precipitation and N addition could pose direct influences on soil enzyme activities by increasing plant biomass, changing plant diversity, regulating microbial biomass ecological stoichiometry, and enhancing soil P availability. Given the diversity and functional complexity of soil enzymes, it is necessary to deeply analyze the influencing mechanism of global change on enzyme activities by measuring the long-term responses of various enzyme activities.

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