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Journal of Arid Land  2014, Vol. 6 Issue (3): 343-351    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-013-0204-9
Research Articles     
Effects of vegetation cover on recruitment of Ulmus pumila L. in Horqin Sandy Land, northeastern China
DeMing JIANG1, Yi TANG1, Carlos A BUSSO2
1 Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang 110016, China;
2 Agronomy Department, National University of the South and CERZOS (CONICET), Bahía Blanca 8000, Argentina
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Abstract  Understanding the effects of vegetation cover on seedling survival is helpful for promoting vegetation restoration in environmentally fragile zones. This study was conducted in the desertified, moving sand dunes of Horqin Sandy Land, Inner Mongolia, northeastern China. We hyphothesized that (1) seed density (i.e., number/m2) increases as vegetation cover increases, and (2) there will be more surviving seedlings in locations with higher vegetation covers. Total vegetation cover and initial densities of seeds, germinated seeds and surviving seedlings of Ulmus pumilia were evaluated under various vegetation covers in trying to clarify the effects of vegetation cover on the early stages of the plant life history. In agreement with the first hypothesis, initial seed densities were greater (P<0.05) under higher vegetation covers. The relationship between vegetation cover and initial seed density was represented by a quadratic regression, where a threshold occurred with a vegetation cover of 36% (P<0.05). The higher total vegetation covers, however, did not result in increased densities of germinated seeds (P>0.05), which on average represented 16.7% of initial seed densities. Even more, three months after the study initiation, total vegetation covers were similar (P>0.05) at all positions in the dunes, and they determined a similar number (P>0.05) of surviving seedlings at those positions (i.e. the second hypothesis had to be rejected). The mean number of seedlings that survived at all positions was only 4.5% of germinated seeds. The number of surviving elm seedlings (0 to 1.7 seedlings/m2) under various vegetations covers (12.2% to 20.8%) at all dune positions by late summer would most likely not contribute to vegetation restoration in the study area.

Key wordsSayram Lake      climate change      water body extraction      areal variation      inland alpine lake     
Received: 08 May 2013      Published: 10 June 2014

This work was supported by the State Key Development Program for Basic Research (2013CB429905), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41201052 and 41071187) and the National Department Public Benefit Research Foundation (201004023). Author BUSSO thanks the Third World Academy
of Sciences for the Associateship (TWAS), and the Institute of Applied Ecology, Shenyang, China for covering all expenses which allowed him to collaborate in this work.

Corresponding Authors: Carlos A BUSSO     E-mail:
Cite this article:

DeMing JIANG, Yi TANG, Carlos A BUSSO. Effects of vegetation cover on recruitment of Ulmus pumila L. in Horqin Sandy Land, northeastern China. Journal of Arid Land, 2014, 6(3): 343-351.

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