Please wait a minute...
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
Download:   PDF(229KB)
Export: BibTeX | EndNote (RIS)      

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
Fund:  

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: yuexf06@126.com
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.

URL:

http://jal.xjegi.com/10.1007/s40333-016-0044-5     OR     http://jal.xjegi.com/Y2016/V8/I3/389

Allan R P, Soden B J. 2008. Atmospheric warming and the amplification of precipitation extremes. Science, 321(5895): 1481–1484.

Bansal S, James J J, Sheley R L. 2014. The effects of precipitation and soil type on three invasive annual grasses in the western United States. Journal of Arid Environments, 104: 38–42.

Cheng X L, An S Q, Li B, et al. 2006. Summer rain pulse size and rainwater uptake by three dominant desert plants in a desertified grassland ecosystem in northwestern China. Plant Ecology, 184(1): 1–12.

Chesson P, Gebauer R L E, Schwinning S, et al. 2004. Resource pulses, species interactions, and diversity maintenance in arid and semi-arid environments. Oecologia, 141(2): 236–253.

Cleland E E, Collins S L, Dickson T L, et al. 2013. Sensitivity of grassland plant community composition to spatial vs. temporal variation in precipitation. Ecology, 94(8): 1687–1696.

Fay P A, Carlisle J D, Knapp A K, et al. 2003. Productivity responses to altered rainfall patterns in a C4-dominated grassland. Oecologia, 137(2): 245–251.

Fernandez-Going B M, Anacker B L, Harrison S P. 2012. Temporal variability in California grasslands: soil type and species functional traits mediate response to precipitation. Ecology, 93(9): 2104–2114.

Grime J P, Fridley J D, Askew A P, et al. 2008. Long-term resistance to simulated climate change in an infertile grassland. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105(29): 10028–10032.

Heisler-White J L, Knapp A K, Kelly E F. 2008. Increasing precipitation event size increases aboveground net primary productivity in a semi-arid grassland. Oecologia, 158(1): 129–140.

Heisler-White J L, Blair J M, Kelly E F, et al. 2009. Contingent productivity responses to more extreme rainfall regimes across a grassland biome. Global Change Biology, 15(12): 2894–2904.

Hsu J S, Powell J, Adler P B. 2012. Sensitivity of mean annual primary production to precipitation. Global Change Biology, 18(7): 2246–2255.

Hsu J S, Adler P B. 2014. Anticipating changes in variability of grassland production due to increases in interannual precipitation variability. Ecosphere, 5(5), doi: 10.1890/ES13-00210.1.

Hu Z M, Fan J W, Zhong H P, et al. 2007. Spatiotemporal dynamics of aboveground primary productivity along a precipitation gradient in Chinese temperate grassland. Science in China Series D: Earth Sciences, 50(5): 754–764.

Huxman T E, Snyder K A, Tissue D, et al. 2004. Precipitation pulses and carbon fluxes in semiarid and arid ecosystems. Oecologia, 141(2): 254–268.

IPCC. 2007. Climate Change 2007: Mitigation of Climate Change: Contribution of Working Group III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Knapp A K, Fay P A, Blair J M, et al. 2002. Rainfall variability, carbon cycling, and plant species diversity in a mesic grassland. Science, 298(5601): 2202–2205.

Knapp A K, Beier C, Briske D D, et al. 2008. Consequences of more extreme precipitation regimes for terrestrial ecosystems. Bioscience, 58(9): 811–821.

Lauenroth W K, Bradford J B. 2009. Ecohydrology of dry regions of the United States: precipitation pulses and intra-seasonal drought. Ecohydrology, 2(2): 173–181.

Lauenroth W K, Schlaepfer D R, Bradford J B. 2014. Ecohydrology of dry regions: Storage versus pulse soil water dynamics. Ecosystems, 17(8): 1469–1479.

Loik M E, Breshears D D, Lauenroth W K, et al. 2004. A multi-scale perspective of water pulses in dryland ecosystems: climatology and ecohydrology of the western USA. Oecologia, 141(2): 269–281.

McKinney M L, Lockwood J L. 1999. Biotic homogenization: a few winners replacing many losers in the next mass extinction. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 14(11): 450–453.

Miranda J D, Padilla F M, Lázaro R, et al. 2009. Do changes in rainfall patterns affect semiarid annual plant communities? Journal of Vegetation Sciences, 20(2): 269–276.

Noy-Meir I. 1973. Desert ecosystems: environment and producers. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, 4(1): 25–51.

Sala O E, Lauenroth W K, Parton W J, et al. 1981. Water status of soil and vegetation in a shortgrass steppe. Oecologia, 48(3): 327–331.

Sala O E, Lauenroth W K. 1982. Small rainfall events: an ecological role in semiarid regions. Oecologia, 53(3): 301–304.

Schwinning S, Sala O E. 2004. Hierarchy of responses to resource pulses in arid and semi-arid ecosystems. Oecologia, 141(2): 211–220.

Shannon C E, Wiener W J. 1949. The Mathematical Theory of Communication. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

Su Y Z, Li Y L, Zhao H L. 2006. Soil properties and their spatial pattern in a degraded sandy grassland under post-grazing restoration, Inner Mongolia, northern China. Biogeochemistry, 79(3): 297–314.

Swemmer A M, Knapp A K, Snyman H A. 2007. Intra-seasonal precipitation patterns and above-ground productivity in three perennial grasslands. Journal of Ecology, 95(4): 780–788.

Thomey M L, Collins S L, Vargas R, et al. 2011. Effect of precipitation variability on net primary production and soil respiration in a Chihuahuan desert grassland. Global Change Biology, 17(4): 1505–1515.

Weltzin J F, Loik M E, Schwinning S, et al. 2003. Assessing the response of terrestrial ecosystems to potential changes in precipitation. Bioscience, 53(10): 941–952.

Yang Y H, Fang J Y, Ma W H, et al. 2008. Relationship between variability in aboveground net primary production and precipitation in global grasslands. Geophysical Research Letters, 35(23): L23710, doi: 10.1029/2008GL035408.

Zhou X H, Talley M, Luo Y Q. 2009. Biomass, litter, and soil respiration along a precipitation gradient in southern Great Plains, USA. Ecosystems, 12(8): 1369–1380.

Zhu Z D, Chen G T. 1994. The Sandy Desertification in China. Beijing: Science Press. (in Chinese)
[1] SA Chula, MENG Fanhao, LUO Min, LI Chenhao, WANG Mulan, ADIYA Saruulzaya, BAO Yuhai. Spatiotemporal variation in snow cover and its effects on grassland phenology on the Mongolian Plateau[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(4): 332-349.
[2] JING Hang, MENG Min, WANG Guoliang, LIU Guobin. Aggregate binding agents improve soil aggregate stability in Robinia pseudoacacia forests along a climatic gradient on the Loess Plateau, China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(2): 165-174.
[3] XU Bo, HUGJILTU Minggagud, BAOYIN Taogetao, ZHONG Yankai, BAO Qinghai, ZHOU Yanlin, LIU Zhiying. Rapid loss of leguminous species in the semi-arid grasslands of northern China under climate change and mowing from 1982 to 2011[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2020, 12(5): 752-765.
[4] HE Qian, DAI Xiao'ai, CHEN Shiqi. Assessing the effects of vegetation and precipitation on soil erosion in the Three-River Headwaters Region of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2020, 12(5): 865-886.
[5] HE Mingzhu, JI Xibin, BU Dongsheng, ZHI Jinhu. Cultivation effects on soil texture and fertility in an arid desert region of northwestern China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2020, 12(4): 701-715.
[6] Lei DONG, Cunzhu LIANG, Frank Yonghong LI, Liqing ZHAO, Wenhong MA, Lixin WANG, Lu WEN, Ying ZHENG, Zijing LI, Chenguang ZHAO, IndreeTUVSHINTOGTOKH. Community phylogenetic structure of grasslandsand its relationship with environmental factors on the Mongolian Plateau[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2019, 11(4): 595-607.
[7] Yunxiao BAI, Xiaobing LI, Wanyu WEN, Xue MI, Ruihua LI, Qi HUANG, Meng ZHANG. CO2, CH4 and N2O flux changes in degraded grassland soil of Inner Mongolia, China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2018, 10(3): 347-361.
[8] Juan HU, Jinggui WU, Xiaojing QU. Decomposition characteristics of organic materials and their effects on labile and recalcitrant organic carbon fractions in a semi-arid soil under plastic mulch and drip irrigation[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2018, 10(1): 115-128.
[9] Qingsheng LIU, Gaohuan LIU, Chong HUANG. Monitoring desertification processes in Mongolian Plateau using MODIS tasseled cap transformation and TGSI time series[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2018, 10(1): 12-26.
[10] Xiang ZHANG, Zhanbin LI, Peng LI, Shanshan TANG, Tian WANG, Hui ZHANG. Influences of sand cover on erosion processes of loess slopes based on rainfall simulation experiments[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2018, 10(1): 39-52.
[11] Yibo ZHANG, Wen XU, Zhang WEN, Dandan WANG, Tianxiang HAO, Aohan TANG, Xuejun LIU. Atmospheric deposition of inorganic nitrogen in a semi-arid grassland of Inner Mongolia, China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2017, 9(6): 810-822.
[12] Siqin TONG, Jiquan ZHANG, Yuhai BAO, Wurina, Terigele, Weilisi, Lianxiao. Spatial and temporal variations of vegetation cover and the relationships with climate factors in Inner Mongolia based on GIMMS NDVI3g data[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2017, 9(3): 394-407.
[13] Meng ZHANG, Xiaobing LI, Hong WANG, Fei DENG, Xu LI, Xue MI. Effects of converting natural grasslands into planted grasslands on ecosystem respiration: a case study in Inner Mongolia, China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2017, 9(1): 38-50.
[14] GANTSETSEG Batdelger, ISHIZUKA Masahide, KUROSAKI Yasunori, MIKAMI Masao. Topographical and hydrological effects on meso-scale vegetation in desert steppe, Mongolia[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2017, 9(1): 132-142.
[15] LI Xiliang, HOU Xiangyang, REN Weibo, Taogetao BAOYIN, LIU Zhiying, Warwick BADGERY, LI Yaqiong, WU Xinhong, XU Huimin. Long-term effects of mowing on plasticity and allometry of Leymus chinensis in a temperate semi-arid grassland, China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2016, 8(6): 899-909.