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Journal of Arid Land  2018, Vol. 10 Issue (4): 601-611    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-018-0011-4
Orginal Article     
Grazing every month minimizes size but boosts photosynthesis in Stipa grandis in the steppe of Inner Mongolia, China
Xiaobing LI*(), Qi HUANG, Xue MI, Yunxiao BAI, Meng ZHANG, Xu LI
State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, College of Resources Science and Technology, BeijingNormal University, Beijing 100875, China
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In order to explore the effects of grazing frequency on functional traits and to test whether Stipa gandis has compensatory photosynthesis during the frequent grazing period, we investigated morphological traits, biomass allocation, photosynthetic traits, and chlorophyll fluorescence parameters of the species in Inner Mongolia, China. The grazing frequency treatments included fencing (T0), grazing in May and July (T1, i.e., two months per year) and grazing from May to September (T2, i.e., continuous five months per year). Results indicate that T1 and T2 treatments did not affect individual biomass, but T2 treatment negatively affected individual size, i.e., plant height, stem length, and leaf length. Physiological traits of S. grandis were significantly affected by grazing, year, and their interaction. In July 2014 (i.e., dry environment and low relative humidity), the photosynthetic rate, transpiration rate and water use efficiency were highest under T2 treatment, which was caused by the increase in stomatal conductance. However, in July 2015 (i.e., wet environment and high relative humidity), the photosynthetic rate and water use efficiency were higher under T1 and T2 treatments, which were caused by the increase in actual quantum efficiency and stomatal conductance. Our results implied that under frequent grazing treatment, S. grandis had small height and efficient compensatory photosynthesis, which promoted its resistance to severe grazing.

Key wordsgrazing frequency      morphological traits      gas exchange      photochemical efficiency      water use efficiency     
Received: 03 August 2017      Published: 10 August 2018
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Xiaobing LI, Qi HUANG, Xue MI, Yunxiao BAI, Meng ZHANG, Xu LI. Grazing every month minimizes size but boosts photosynthesis in Stipa grandis in the steppe of Inner Mongolia, China. Journal of Arid Land, 2018, 10(4): 601-611.

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