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Journal of Arid Land  2019, Vol. 11 Issue (6): 855-865    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-019-0068-8
Orginal Article     
Changes in the relationship between species richness and belowground biomass among grassland types and along environmental gradients in Xinjiang, Northwest China
YANG Yuling1,2, LI Minfei1, MA Jingjing1, CHENG Junhui1, LIU Yunhua1, JIA Hongtao1, LI Ning1, WU Hongqi1, SUN Zongjiu1, FAN Yanmin1, SHENG Jiandong1, JIANG Ping'an1,*()
1 Xinjiang Key Laboratory of Soil and Plant Ecological Processes, College of Grassland and Environmental Sciences, Xinjiang Agricultural University, Urumqi 830052, China
2 Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011, China
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The association between biodiversity and belowground biomass (BGB) remains a central debate in ecology. In this study, we compared the variations in species richness (SR) and BGB as well as their interaction in the top (0-20 cm), middle (20-50 cm) and deep (50-100 cm) soil depths among 8 grassland types (lowland meadow, temperate desert, temperate desert steppe, temperate steppe desert, temperate steppe, temperate meadow steppe, mountain meadow and alpine steppe) and along environmental gradients (elevation, energy condition (annual mean temperature (AMT) and potential evapotranspiration (PET)), and mean annual precipitation (MAP)) based on a 2011-2013 survey of 379 sites in Xinjiang, Northwest China. The SR and BGB varied among the grassland types. The alpine steppe had a medium level of SR but the highest BGB in the top soil depth, whereas the lowland meadow had the lowest SR but the highest BGB in the middle and deep soil depths. The SR and BGB in the different soil depths were tightly associated with elevation, MAP and energy condition; however, the particular forms of trends in SR and BGB depended on environmental factors and soil depths. The relationship between SR and BGB was unimodal in the top soil depth, but SR was positively related with BGB in the middle soil depth. Although elevation, MAP, energy condition and SR had significant effects on BGB, the variations in BGB in the top soil depth were mostly determined by elevation, and those in the middle and deep soil depths were mainly affected by energy condition. These findings highlight the importance of environmental factors in the regulations of SR and BGB as well as their interaction in the grasslands in Xinjiang.

Key wordsspecies richness      belowground biomass      unimodal pattern      energy condition      soil depths      mean annual precipitation      grasslands in Xinjiang     
Received: 02 March 2019      Published: 10 December 2019
Corresponding Authors: Ping'an JIANG     E-mail:
Cite this article:

YANG Yuling, LI Minfei, MA Jingjing, CHENG Junhui, LIU Yunhua, JIA Hongtao, LI Ning, WU Hongqi, SUN Zongjiu, FAN Yanmin, SHENG Jiandong, JIANG Ping'an. Changes in the relationship between species richness and belowground biomass among grassland types and along environmental gradients in Xinjiang, Northwest China. Journal of Arid Land, 2019, 11(6): 855-865.

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