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Journal of Arid Land  2016, Vol. 8 Issue (3): 389-398    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-016-0044-5
Research Articles     
Effects of rainfall patterns on annual plants in Horqin Sandy Land, Inner Mongolia of China
YUE Xiangfei1,2*, ZHANG Tonghui1, ZHAO Xueyong1, LIU Xinping1, MA Yunhua1,2
1 Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China;
2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
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Abstract  Growth of annual plants in arid environments depends largely on rainfall pulses. An increased understanding of the effects of different rainfall patterns on plant growth is critical to predicting the potential responses of plants to the changes in rainfall regimes, such as rainfall intensity and duration, and length of dry intervals. In this study, we investigated the effects of different rainfall patterns (e.g. small rainfall event with high frequency and large rainfall event with low frequency) on biomass, growth characteristics and vertical distribution of root biomass of annual plants in Horqin Sandy Land, Inner Mongolia of China during the growing season (from May to August) of 2014. Our results showed that the rainfall patterns, independent of total rainfall amount, exerted strong effects on biomass, characteristics of plant growth and vertical distribution of root biomass. Under a constant amount of total rainfall, the aboveground biomass (AGB), belowground biomass (BGB), plant cover, plant height, and plant individual and species number increased with an increase in rainfall intensity. Changes in rainfall patterns also altered the percentage contribution of species biomass to the total AGB, and the percentage of BGB at different soil layers to the total BGB. Consequently, our results indicated that increased rainfall intensity in future may increase biomass significantly, and also affect the growth characteristics of annual plants.

Key wordsvegetation cover      MODIS NDVI      natural zones      seasonal dynamics      stability      Mongolia     
Received: 16 September 2015      Published: 01 June 2016

The Strategic Leading Science and Technology Projects of Chinese Academy of Sciences (XDA05050201-04-01)

The National Natural Science Foundation of China (41371053, 31500369)

The ‘One Hundred Talent’ Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences (Y451H31001)

Corresponding Authors: YUE Xiangfei     E-mail:
Cite this article:

YUE Xiangfei, ZHANG Tonghui, ZHAO Xueyong, LIU Xinping, MA Yunhua. Effects of rainfall patterns on annual plants in Horqin Sandy Land, Inner Mongolia of China. Journal of Arid Land, 2016, 8(3): 389-398.

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