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Table of Content
    Volume 41 Issue 11
    10 November 2017

    Major zonal vegetation types in Shennongjia Natural Heritage (Photographed by SHEN Guo-Zhen, ZHOU You-Bing and ZHOU Qiu-Jing). Upper left: evergreen broad-leaved forests; Top center: evergreen deciduous broad-leaved mixed forests; Upper right: deciduous broad-leaved forests; Low left: coniferous and broad-leaved mixed forests; Bottom center: subalpine coniferous forests; Low right: subalpine shrub and meadow. Ma et al. explored the representativeness of the vertical vege

    Cover and contents of Vol. 41, No. 11, 2017

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    Research Articles
    Characteristic and representativeness of the vertical vegetation zonation along the altitudinal gradient in Shennongjia Natural Heritage
    Ming-Zhe MA, Guo-Zhen SHEN, Gao-Ming XIONG, Chang-Ming ZHAO, Wen-Ting XU, You-Bing ZHOU, Zong-Qiang XIE
    Chin J Plant Ecol. 2017, 41 (11):  1127-1139.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2017.0092
    Abstract ( 2976 )   Full Text ( 318 )   PDF (3798KB) ( 3973 )   Save
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    Aims Mountains contain broad environmental gradients, which are to be an outstanding universal value representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of zonal vegetation along the elevation gradients. Exploring the biological and ecological value of the vegetation zonation along the elevation gradients of Chinese mountain natural heritage site is important for biodiversity conservation and management.
    Methods Based on the community survey data of the six vegetation zonation along the elevational gradients in Shennongjia, the global land use dataset, and the literature data of the communities along the altitudinal gradients of other natural heritage sites and the nominated world natural heritage sites in Oriental Deciduous Forest Biogeographic Province by Udvardy, we explored the outstanding universal value of the zonal vegetation along the altitude gradients by the methods of spatial analysis.
    Important findings Shennongjia heritage site preserves the intact vegetation zonation of the typical Oriental Deciduous Forest Biogeographical Province in the Classification of the Biogeographical Provinces of the World by Udvardy, including evergreen broad-leaved forests (South Slope of the Heritage Site), evergreen deciduous broad-leaved mixed forests, deciduous broad-leaved forests, coniferous and broad-leaved mixed forests, coniferous forests and subalpine shrub and meadow along the elevation gradients. The altitudinal zonation of vegetation in the Shennongjia heritage site represented a variety of bio-ecological processes, such as the turnover of the dominant trees along the altitudinal gradients, and is an outstanding example of the ongoing ecological processes occurring in the development of intact subtropical mixed broadleaved evergreen and deciduous forest in the Northern Hemisphere.

    Variations and interrelationships of foliar hydraulic and photosynthetic traits for Larix gmelinii
    Zhi-Min LI, Chuan-Kuan WANG, Dan-Dan LUO
    Chin J Plant Ecol. 2017, 41 (11):  1140-1148.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2017.0049
    Abstract ( 1262 )   Full Text ( 165 )   PDF (1181KB) ( 2151 )   Save
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    Aims Variations and potential trade-offs of leaf hydraulic and photosynthetic traits are essential for assessing and predicting the effect of climate change on tree survival, growth and distribution. Our aims were to examine variations and interrelationships of leaf hydraulic and photosynthetic traits in response to changes in site conditions for Dahurian larch (Larix gmelinii)—a dominant tree species in Chinese boreal forests.
    Methods This study was conducted at the Maoershan Forest Ecosystem Research Station. A transect of 27 year-old Dahurian larch plantation was established that consisted of five plots extending from the valley to the ridge of a slope. The predawn leaf water potential (Ψpre), area- and mass-based leaf hydraulic conductance (Karea and Kmass, respectively), resistance to embolism capacity (P50), leaf mass per area (LMA), net photosynthetic rate (A), and leaf nitrogen content (N) were measured in August 2016.
    Important findings The Ψpre, Karea, Kmass, P50, A, LMA, and N all varied significantly among the plots (p < 0.05), indicating significant intra-specific variations in these traits in response to the changes in site conditions. The P50 was significantly (p < 0.05) correlated with Ψpre, Karea or Kmass, suggesting that a trade-off between hydraulic efficiency and safety exist within the species to some degree. There were significant (p < 0.05) pairwise correlations between A, LMA, and N. Nevertheless, there was no significant (p < 0.05) correlation between the measured photosynthetic traits and hydraulic traits. We concluded that the intra-specific variations and multiple interrelationships of the leaf hydraulic and photosynthetic traits for the larch reflect the plasticity of its leaf traits and strategies of its survival and growth as a result of its acclimation to diverse site conditions.

    Relationships between species diversity or community structure and productivity of woody-plants in a broad-leaved Korean pine forest in Jiaohe, Jilin, China
    Ling-Zhao TAN, Chun-Yu FAN, Xiu-Hua FAN
    Chin J Plant Ecol. 2017, 41 (11):  1149-1156.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2016.0321
    Abstract ( 1190 )   Full Text ( 158 )   PDF (926KB) ( 2477 )   Save
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    Aims Based on the dataset of a broad-leaved Korean pine forest in Jiaohe, Jilin Province, this research compared the influences of species diversity and community structure on productivity. We aim to explain the relationship between diversity and productivity for better forest management.
    Methods We used the data of 10 973 woody-plants in a 11.76 hm2 large sample plot and analyzed the correlations between 7 different indices of species diversity or community structure and productivity. Structural equation model was used to compare the effects of species diversity and community structure on productivity.
    Important findings The results showed that: (1) Both species diversity and community structure had significant effects on productivity when they were considered separately in linear regression analysis, i.e. species evenness was negatively correlated with productivity, the Shannon index of community structure was positively correlated with productivity and the Gini index was negatively correlated with productivity. (2) In the structural equation model, when simultaneously considered, community structure had stronger influence on productivity than species diversity. Our research suggests that, the effects of community structure on productivity are greater than species diversity and it is important to increase community structure complexity to improve forest productivity during forest management.

    Exploring the community assembly of subalpine meadow communities based on functional traits and community phylogeny
    Ying-Di CHE, Min-Xia LIU, Li-Rong LI, Jiao JIAO, Wei XIAO
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2017, 41 (11):  1157-1167.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2017.0211
    Abstract ( 1391 )   Full Text ( 153 )   PDF (1243KB) ( 4155 )   Save
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    Aims The community assembly has been a prominent issue in community ecology. This work was intended to explore the mechanisms of the species coexistence and biodiversity in communities. Our objective was to explore the mechanisms of community assembly in subalpine meadow plant communities along slope gradients in Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province, Northwest China.
    Methods We selected five slope-oriented plots to construct a super-tree representing the species pool. We surveyed the leaf functional traits and soil environmental factors in different slopes. Then we tested the phylogenetic signal of leaf dry matter content (LDMC), specific leaf area (SLA), leaf nitrogen content (LNC) and leaf phosphorus content (LPC).
    Important findings The changes of slope aspect had significant influence on soil water content (SWC) and soil nutrient content. Most of the plants leaf functional traits had significant difference along different slope aspects. The LDMC was higher in south and southwest slope than north slope, while SLA, LNC and LPC were relatively high in north and northwest slope. The LPC showed feeble phylogenetic signal, while LDMC, SLA, LNC did not have a significant phylogenetic signal. With changes in the slope aspect from south to north, community phylogenetic structure shifted from over-dispersion to clustered dispersion. In south and southwest slope, habitat filtering was the driving force for community assembly. Interspecific competition was the main driving factor for community assembly in north and northwest slope aspects. But in west slope, two indices showed contrary consequence. This means the process of community assembly in west slope was more complicated and its phylogenetic index may be the result of several mechanisms working together.

    Allocation of mass and stability of soil aggregate in different types of Nei Mongol grasslands
    Tian WANG, Shan XU, Meng-Ying ZHAO, He LI, Dan KOU, Jing-Yun FANG, Hui-Feng HU
    Chin J Plant Ecol. 2017, 41 (11):  1168-1176.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2017.0220
    Abstract ( 1594 )   Full Text ( 166 )   PDF (1079KB) ( 2473 )   Save
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    Aims Soil aggregate is an important component of soil structure, playing an important role in the physical and biological protection mechanism of soil organic carbon (SOC) through isolating SOC from microorganisms. As far as we know, there are few studies, however, on exploring the spatial distribution of soil aggregate at the regional scale. Our objective was to investigate the mass allocation and stability of soil aggregate in different types of Nei Mongol grasslands.
    Methods We have established 78 sites with a size of 10 m × 10 m across the transect of Nei Mongol grasslands and collected soil samples from different soil depth up to 1 m. We used wet sieving method to separate different sizes of aggregate partition and used mean mass diameter (MMD) and geometric mean diameter (GMD) in order to evaluate the stability of soil aggregate. The two-way ANOVA was used to test the difference of mass percentage and stability of soil aggregate in different grassland types and soil depths. In addition, a linear regression analysis was used to analyze the correlations of mass percentage and stability of soil aggregate with both mean annual precipitation (MAP) and mean annual temperature (MAT).
    Important findings The results showed that the mass percentages of soil aggregate were highest in meadow steppe, while almost equal in typical steppe and desert steppe. However, no significant patterns were found along the soil depth. The mass percentage of soil aggregate fractions were positively correlated with MAP in all soil layers, but negatively correlated with MAT except the layer of 70-100 cm. For the stability of soil aggregate, at 0-10 and 10-20 cm, MMD and GMD of meadow steppe were significantly greater than those of typical and desert steppes, whereas no significant differences among three grassland types were found for other soil layers. Besides, MMD and GMD in meadow steppe and typical steppe gradually decreased along the soil depth.

    Effects of biochar addition on dynamics of soil respiration and temperature sensitivity in a Phyllostachys edulis forest
    Xiao-Gai GE, Ben-Zhi ZHOU, Wen-Fa XIAO, Xiao-Ming WANG, Yong-Hui CAO, Ming YE
    Chin J Plant Ecol. 2017, 41 (11):  1177-1189.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2017.0098
    Abstract ( 1506 )   Full Text ( 130 )   PDF (1343KB) ( 2755 )   Save
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    Aims Recent studies have shown that artificial addition of biochar is an effective way to mitigate atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. However, it is still unclear how biochar addition influences soil respiration in Phyllostachys edulis forests of subtropical China. Our objectives were to examine the effects of biochar addition on the dynamics of soil respiration, soil temperature, soil moisture, and the cumulative soil carbon emission, and to determine the relationships of soil respiration with soil temperature and moisture.
    Methods We conducted a two-year biochar addition experiment in a subtropical P. edulis forest from 2014.05 to 2016.04. The study site is located in the Miaoshanwu Nature Reserve in Fuyang district of Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, in southern China. The biochar addition treatments included: control (CK, no biochar addition), low rate of biochar addition (LB, 5 t·hm-2), medium rate of biochar addition (MB, 10 t·hm-2), and high rate of biochar addition (HB, 20 t·hm-2). Soil respiration was measured by using a LI-8100 soil CO2 efflux system.
    Important findings Soil respiration was significantly reduced by biochar addition, and exhibited an apparent seasonal pattern, with the maximum occurring in June or July (except LB in one of the replicated stand) and the minimum in January or February. There were significant differences in soil respiration between the CK and the treatments. Annual mean soil respiration rate in the CK, LB, MB and HB were 3.32, 2.66, 3.04 and 3.24 μmol·m-2·s-1, respectively. Compared with CK, soil respiration rate was 2.33%-54.72% lower in the LB, 1.28%-44.21% lower in the MB, and 0.09%-39.22% lower in the HB. The soil moisture content was increased by 0.97%-75.58% in LB, 0.87%-48.18% in MB, and 0.68%-74.73% in HB, respectively, compared with CK. Soil respiration exhibited a significant exponential relationship with soil temperature and a significant linear relationship with combination of soil temperature and moisture at the depth of 5 cm; no significant relationship was found between soil respiration and soil moisture alone. The temperature sensitivity (Q10) value was reduced in LB and HB. Annual accumulative soil carbon emission in the LB, MB and HB was reduced by 7.98%-35.09%, 1.48%-20.63%, and -4.71%-7.68%, respectively. Biochar addition significantly reduced soil carbon emission and soil temperature sensitivity, highlighting its role in mitigating climate change.

    Patterns of flower morphology and structural changes during interconversion between chasmogamous and cleistogamous flowers in Viola philippica
    Qiao-Xia LI, Xiao-Xia HUANG, Wen CHEN, Yong WANG, Kun SUN
    Chin J Plant Ecol. 2017, 41 (11):  1190-1198.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2017.0153
    Abstract ( 2308 )   Full Text ( 137 )   PDF (5240KB) ( 2242 )   Save
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    Aims Viola philippica is a species with a typical chasmogamous-cleistogamous (CH-CL) mixed breeding system. It provides a flower model system to investigate floral organs development under different photoperiods. Morphological changes of intermediate cleistogamous (inCL) flowers have been observed, the trends in variation of changes from CH flowers to CL flowers or from CL flowers to CH flowers have been analyzed, the localized effects of poorly developed stamens and petals in CL and inCL flowers have been identified. This research provided morphology and structural changes with implication for the evolutionary significance of the dimorphic flower formation for further study in dimorphic flower development.
    Methods We used methods of anatomy and structural analysis to observe the morphological structures of flowers under different photoperiods.
    Important findings Photoperiod played an important role in the development of CH and CL flowers in V. philippica. Under short-day light and intermediate-day light, both CH and inCL flowers developed simultaneously. Most of the floral buds were CH flowers under a photoperiod of short-day light, but most of the floral buds were inCL flowers under mid-day light. Complete CL flowers formed under long-day lights. However, there were a series of transitional types in the number and morphology of stamens and petals among inCL flowers, including five stamens with three petals related to CH flowers and two stamens with one petal related to CL flowers. The former type was dominant under short-day light conditions, and the latter type was dominant under mid-day light. Further more, there were localized effects in stamen and petal development for CL and inCL flowers. The development of ventral lower petal (corresponding to the lower petal with spur of CH flower) and the adjacent two stamens in inCL flowers were best, and the back petal was similar to that of CL flowers, an organ primordium structure. The adjacent stamens with the back petals tended to be poorly developed. In extreme cases, these stamens in inCL flowers had no pollen sac, only a membranous appendage or even a primordium structure. When the plants with CL or CH flowers were placed under short-day light or long-day light, the newly induced flowers all showed a series of inCL flower types, finally the CL flowers transformed into CH flowers, and the CH flowers transformed into CL flowers. This result indicates the gradual effects of different photoperiods on dimorphic flowers development of V. philippica. A long photoperiod could inhibit the development of partial stamens and petals, and a short photoperiod could prevent the suppression of long-day light and promote the development of stamens and petals.

    Effects of dew on eco-physiological traits and leaf structures of Leymus chinensis and Agropyron cristatum grown under drought stress
    Yu CEN, Mei-Zhen LIU
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2017, 41 (11):  1199-1207.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2017.0114
    Abstract ( 1422 )   Full Text ( 69 )   PDF (2572KB) ( 2587 )   Save
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    Aims To investigate the effects of dew on plants, we conducted the experiment to determine the physiological characteristics and leaf structures of Leymus chinensis and Agropyron cristatum in response to increasing dew under drought stress.
    Methods Four treatments (no dew, three times dew and five times dew per week under drought stress, and well-watering) were designed to examine leaf relative water content, water potential, net photosynthetic rate, water use efficiency, biomass, and leaf structures of L. chinensis and A. cristatum.
    Important findings There was a significant increase in the relative water content and water potential by simulated dew increase for two plants species under drought stress (p < 0.05). For A. cristatum, simulated dew increase significantly enhanced the net photosynthetic rate, stomatal conductance, and transpiration rate of plants under drought stress (p < 0.05). On the other hand, there was no significant difference in the stomatal conductance and transpiration rate for L. chinensis among treatments. Simulated dew increase improved the aboveground biomass and root biomass of two species. The ratio of yellow leaves to the total leaves was decreased by simulated dew increase for two species. Dew increase also protected leaf structures against the drought stress, suggesting that the dew increase can slow down the death process of leaves resulted from drought stress. Therefore, the study demonstrated that dew increased the available water for the leaves of L. chinensis and A. cristatum grown in the drought stress and thus had positive effects on the photosynthesis, water physiology and plant development.

    Research advancement in the processes and mechanisms of transporting methane by emerged herbaceous plants and hygrophytes
    Bo-Kai DOU, Yi-Dong WANG, Dong-Mei XUE, Zhong-Liang WANG
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2017, 41 (11):  1208-1218.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2017.0084
    Abstract ( 1632 )   Full Text ( 113 )   PDF (2089KB) ( 2659 )   Save
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    Methane (CH4) is an important greenhouse gas, and is involved in atmospheric chemical reactions. Aquatic and hydric environments are important sources of atmospheric CH4. Majority of CH4 are transported and released to atmosphere by emerged herbaceous plants and hygrophytes in aquatic and hydric environments. In recent decades, there has been increasing attention on how plants transport CH4. During CH4 transportation processes, several interfaces of CH4 exchange play important roles. First, the tips of lateral roots are primary locations (hotspots) for CH4 entering the root systems and regulate the gross CH4 transportation. Then, the diaphragms in the aerenchyma and the root collar impose great resistances for the overall CH4 transportation processes. In early studies, it was controversial that whether CH4 emission from plants to atmosphere was controlled by stomas or micropores (small cracks and holes in aboveground part of plant except the blade). Recent studies have confirmed the dominant role of micropores for CH4 transportation and emission. The dead and damaged stems are widely considered to have positive effects on CH4 transportation. Diffusion and convection are the two main transporting mechanisms of CH4, with the efficiency of convection being generally higher than that of diffusion. Both biological (e.g. biomass and photosynthesis) and environmental (e.g. light, temperature and humidity) factors regulate the CH4 transportation. Many studies have contributed to understanding the CH4 transportation processes and mechanisms by emerged herbaceous plants and hygrophytes. However, there are still some questions needing further investigations. Issues of consideration may include the operational efficiency in the critical interfaces of CH4 exchange, the plant parts that play a decisive role in the entire CH4 transportation, the underlying roles of diffusion and convection on CH4 interfaces exchanges and entire long distance transports, the combined and coupling effects and mechanisms of biotic and abiotic factors, and the similarities and differences of CH4 transporting processes and mechanisms among plant species.

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