Please wait a minute...
Journal of Arid Land  2014, Vol. 6 Issue (4): 478-487    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-013-0207-6
Research Articles     
Effects of fencing on vegetation and soil restoration in a degraded alkaline grassland in northeast China
Qiang LI1,2, DaoWei ZHOU1*, YingHua JIN3, MinLing WANG1, YanTao SONG1, GuangDi LI4
1 Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun 130102, China;
2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China;
3 School of Geography Science, Northeast Normal University, Changchun 130012, China;
4 Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation
Download:   PDF(164KB)
Export: BibTeX | EndNote (RIS)      

Abstract  In order to restore a degraded alkaline grassland, the local government implemented a large restoration project using fences in Changling county, Jilin province, China, in 2000. Grazing was excluded from the protected area, whereas the grazed area was continuously grazed at 8.5 dry sheep equivalent (DSE)/hm2. In the current re-search, soil and plant samples were taken from grazed and fenced areas to examine changes in vegetation and soil properties in 2005, 2006 and 2008. Results showed that vegetation characteristics and soil properties improved significantly in the fenced area compared with the grazed area. In the protected area the vegetation cover, height and above- and belowground biomass increased significantly. Soil pH, electrical conductivity and bulk density decreased significantly, but soil organic carbon and total nitrogen concentration increased greatly in the protected area. By comparing the vegetation and soil characteristics with pre-degraded grassland, we found that vegetation can recover 6 years after fencing, and soil pH can be restored 8 years after fencing. However, the restoration of soil organic carbon, total nitrogen and total phosphorus concentrations needed 16, 30 and 19 years, respectively. It is recommended that the stocking rate should be reduced to 1/3 of the current carrying capacity, or that a grazing regime of 1-year of grazing followed by a 2-year rest is adopted to sustain the current status of vegetation and soil resources. However, if N fertilizer is applied, the rest period could be shortened, depending on the rate of application.

Key wordsBromus tectorum      diaspore      micromorphology      lemma      Kazakhstan      United States      Xinjiang of China     
Received: 13 June 2013      Published: 12 August 2014

This study was supported by the National Key Basic Research Program of China (2011CB403203) and the Strategic Science and Technology Guide Project of Chinese Academy of Sciences (XDA05050401).

Corresponding Authors:
Cite this article:

Qiang LI, DaoWei ZHOU, YingHua JIN, MinLing WANG, YanTao SONG, GuangDi LI. Effects of fencing on vegetation and soil restoration in a degraded alkaline grassland in northeast China. Journal of Arid Land, 2014, 6(4): 478-487.

URL:     OR

Bauer A, Cole C V, Black A L. 1987. Soil property compares on in virgin grasslands between grazed and nongrazed management systems. Soil Science Society America Journal, 51(1): 176–182.

Daily G C. 1995.  Restoring value to the worlds degraded lands. Science, 26(5222): 350–354.

Dakhah M, Gifford G F. 1980. Influence of vegetation, rock cover and trampling on infiltration rates and sediment production. Journal of the American Water Resources Association, 16(6): 979–986.

Dormaar J F, Adams B W, Willms W D. 1994. Effects of grazing and abandoned cultivation on a Stipa-Bouteloua community. Journal Rangeland Management, 47(1): 28–32.

Fleischner T L. 1994. Ecological costs of livestock grazing in western North America. Conservation Biology, 8(3): 629–644.

Gao Q, Yang X S, Yun R, et al. 1996. MAGE, a dynamic model of alkaline grassland ecosystems with variable soil characteristics. Ecological Modelling, 93(1): 19–32.

Gonzales E K, Clements D R. 2010. Plant community biomass shifts in response to mowing and fencing in invaded oak meadows with Non-Native grasses and abundant ungulates. Restoration Ecology, 18(5): 753–761.

Guo Q F. 2007. The diversity–biomass–productivity relationships in grassland management and restoration. Basic and Applied Ecology, 8(3): 199–208.

Hofstede R G M. 1995. The effects of grazing and burning on soil and plant nutrient concentrations in Colombia Páramo grasslands. Plant and Soil, 173(1): 111–132.

Holmgren M, Scheffer M. 2001. El Niño as a window of opportunity for the restoration of degraded arid ecosystems. Ecosystems, 4(2): 151–159.

Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences. 1978. Physical and Chemical Analysis Methods of Soils. Shanghai: Shanghai Science Technology Press, 87–102.

Jiang S C, He N P, Wu L, et al. 2010. Vegetation restoration of secondary bare saline-alkali patches in the Songnen plain, China. Applied Vegetation Science, 13(1): 47–55.

Klute A. 1986. Methods of Soil Analysis. Part 1-Physical Mineralogical Methods. Madison, WI: American Society of Agronomy, INC, 363–375.

Lavado R S, Sierra J O, Hashimoto P N. 1996. Impact of grazing on soil nutrients in a Pampean grassland. Journal of Range Management, 49(5): 452–457.

Li F R, Zhao W Z, Liu J L, et al. 2009. Degraded vegetation and wind erosion influence soil carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus accumulation in sandy grasslands. Plant and Soil, 317(1–2): 79–92.

Liu Y S, Pan Q M, Liu H D, et al. 2011. Plant responses following grazing removal at different stocking rates in an Inner Mongolia grassland ecosystem. Plant and Soil, 340(1–2): 199–213.

Mainguet M. 1994. Desertification: Natural Background and Human Mismanagement, 2nd eds. Heidelberg: Speringer-Verlag, 306.

Manzano M G, Návar J. 2000. Processes of desertification by goats overgrazing in the Tamaulipan-thrnscrub (matorral) in north-eastern Mexico. Journal of Arid Environments, 44(1): 1–17.

Marriott C A, Hood K, Fisher J M, et al. 2009. Long-term impacts of extensive grazing and abandonment on the species composition, richness, diversity and productivity of agricultural grassland. Agriculture, Ecosystem and Environment, 134(3): 190–200.

Page A L. 1982. Methods of Soil Analysis. Part 2-Chemical and micro-biological properties. Madison, WI: American Society of Agronomy, INC, 539–579.

Pei S F, Fu H, Wan C G. 2008. Changes in soil properties and vegetation following exclosure and grazing in degraded Alxa desert steppe of Inner Mongolia, China. Agriculture, Ecosystem and Environment, 124(1): 33–39. 

Peterson G, Allen C R, Holling C S. 1998. Ecological resilience, biodi-versity, and scale. Ecosystems, 1(1): 6–18.

Pywell R F, Bullock J M, Hopkinsi A, et al. 2002. Restoration of spe-cies-rich grassland on arable land: assessing the limiting processes using a multi-site experiment. Journal of Applied Ecology, 39(2): 294–309.

Rubio R W, Bochet E.1998. Desertification indicators as diagnosis criteria for desertification risk assessment in Europe. Journal of Arid Environment, 39(2): 113–120.

Ruiz-Jaen M C, Aide T M. 2005. Restoration success: how is it being measured? Restoration Ecology, 13(3): 569–577.

Salihi D O, Norton B E. 1987. Survival of perennial grass seedling under intensive grazing in semiarid rangelands. Journal of Applied Ecology, 24(1): 145–151.

Schlesinger W H, Reynolds J F, Cunningham G L, et al. 1990. Biological feedbacks in global desertification. Science, 247(4946): 1043–1048.

Shang Z H, Deng B, Ding L M, et al. 2013.The effects of three years of fencing enclosure on soil seed banks and the relationship with above-ground vegetation of degraded alpine grasslands of the Ti-betan plateau. Plant and Soil, 364(1–2): 229–244.

Shi D C, Wang D L. 2005. Effects of various salt-alkaline mixed stresses on Aneurolepidium chinense (Trin.) Kitag. Plant and Soil, 271(1–2): 15–26.

Silver W L, Kueppers L M, Lugo A E, et al. 2004. Carbon sequestration and plant community dynamics following reforestation of tropical pasture. Ecological Applications, 14(4): 1115–1127.

Snyman H A. 2003. Revegetation of bare patches in a semi-arid range-land of South Africa: an evaluation of various techniques. Journal of Arid Environment, 55(3): 417–432.

Sparks D L, Page A L, Helmke P A, et al. 1996. Methods of Soil Analysis. Part 3-Chemical Methods. Madison, WI: American Soci-ety of Agronomy, INC, 1085–1121.

Su Y Z, Zhao H L, Zhang T H, et al. 2004. Soil properties following cultivation and non-grazing of a semi-arid sandy grassland in northern China. Soil and Tillage Research, 75(1): 27–36.

Su Y Z, Li Y L, Cui J Y, et al. 2005. Influences of continuous grazing and livestock exclusion on soil properties in a degraded sandy grassland, Inner Mongolia, northern China. Catena, 59(3): 267– 278.

Suding K N, Gross K L, Houseman G R. 2004. Alternative states and positive feedbacks in restoration ecology. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 19(1): 46–53.

Taylor Jr C A, Garza Jr N E, Brooks T D. 1993. Grazing systems on the Edwards Plateau of Taxas: are they worth the trouble? Rangelands, 15(2): 53–57.

van der Merwe J P A, Kellner K. 1999. Soil disturbance and increase in species diversity during rehabilitation of degraded arid rangelands. Journal of Arid Environment, 41(3): 323–333.

Wang H, Li X, Long H, et al. 2007. Monitoring grassland degradation in Yiminhe Mine of China using TM remotely sensed data. Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium, 2007. IGARSS 2007. IEEE International, 3441–3443.

Wang R Z. 2000. Effect of grazing on reproduction in Leymus chinensis population. Chinese Journal Applied Ecology, 11(3): 399–402.

Wang Y, Zhao H L, Zhao X Y. 2013. Effects of land use intensity on the restoration capacity of sandy land vegetation and soil moisture in fenced sandy land in desert area. Contemporary Problems of Ecology, 6(1): 128–136.

Wu G L, Du G Z, Liu Z H, et al. 2009. Effect of fencing and grazing on a Kobresia-dominated meadow in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Plant and Soil, 319(1–2): 115–126. 

Wu G L, Liu Z H, Zhang L, et al. 2010. Long-term fencing improved soil properties and soil organic carbon storage in an alpine swamp meadow of western China. Plant and Soil, 332(1–2): 331–337.

Yayneshet T, Eik L O, Moe S R. 2009. The effects of exclosures in restoring degraded semi-arid vegetation in communal grazing lands in northern Ethiopia. Journal of Arid Environments, 73(4): 542–549.

Zhang W Z. 1994. The relationship between vegetation degeneration and soil salinization in an Aneurolepidium chinense grassland of Song-nen plain. Acta Phytoecologica Sinica, 18(1): 50–55.

Zhao W Z, Xiao H L, Liu Z M, et al. 2005. Soil degradation and resto-ration as affected by land use change in the semiarid Bashang area, northern China. Catena, 59(2): 173–186.

Zhou D W, Li Q, Song Y T, et al. 2011. Salinization-alkalization of Leymus chinensis grassland in Songnen Plain of Northeast China. Chinese Journal Applied Ecology, 22(6): 1423–1430.

[1] Diana M BURLIBAYEVA, Malik Zh BURLIBAYEV, Christian OPP, BAO Anming. Regime dynamics of hydrochemical and toxicological parameters of the Irtysh River in Kazakhstan[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2016, 8(4): 521-532.
[2] XIONG Chuanhe, YANG Degang, HUO Jinwei, ZHAO Yannan. The relationship between energy consumption and economic growth and the development strategy of a low-carbon economy in Kazakhstan[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2015, 7(5): 706-715.
[3] Wendy TROWBRIDGE, Thomas ALBRIGHT, Scot FERGUSON, Jun LI, Barry PERRYMAN, Robert S NOWAK. Explaining patterns of species dominance in the shrub steppe systems of the Junggar Basin (China) and Great Basin (USA)[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2013, 5(4): 415-427.
[4] YaoBin LIU, YuanMing ZHANG, Robert S NOWAK, Liliya DIMEYEVA. Diaspore characteristics and ecological adaptation of Bromus tectorum L. from different distribution regions [J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2013, 5(3): 310-323.
[5] Gulzhan BEISEYEVA, Jilili ABUDUWALI. Migration and accumulation of heavy metals in disturbed landscapes in developing ore deposits, East Kazakhstan[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2013, 5(2): 180-187.
[6] Chrysanthi CHIMONA, Avra STAMELLOU, Apostolos ARGIROPOULOS, Sophia RHIZOPOULOU. Study of variegated and white flower petals of Capparis spinosa expanded at dusk in arid landscapes[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2012, 4(2): 171-179.
[7] Xi CHEN, BaiLian LI, Qin LI, JunLi LI, Saparnov ABDULLA. Spatio-temporal pattern and changes of evapotranspiration in arid Central Asia and Xinjiang of China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2012, 4(1): 105-112.
[8] Yesenbekova Perizat Abdykairovna. Fauna of Heteroptera in the deserts of Kazakhstan[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2011, 3(4): 303-305.
[9] XingYi GAO, WenXuan XU, WeiKang YANG, David A BLANK, JianFang QIAO, KeFen XU. Status and distribution of ungulates in Xinjiang, China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2011, 3(1): 49-60.