Please wait a minute...
Journal of Arid Land  2012, Vol. 4 Issue (2): 140-150    DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1227.2012.00140
Research Articles     
Differences in response of desert plants of different ecotypes to climate warming: a case study in Minqin, Northwest China
ZhaoFeng CHANG 1,2,3, ShuJuan ZHU 1,2,3, FuGui HAN 1,2,3, ShengNian ZHONG 1,2,3
1 Minqin National Station for Desert Steppe Ecosystem Studies, Minqin 733300, China;
2 Gansu Key Laboratory of Desertification Combating, Lanzhou 730070, China;
3 Gansu Desert Control Research Institute, Lanzhou 730070, China
Download:   PDF(719KB)
Export: BibTeX | EndNote (RIS)      

Abstract   Globally climates are warming. How do desert plants of different ecotypes respond to the climate change? This paper studied the differing responses to climate warming shown by desert plants of different ecotypes through analyzing the phenology and meteorological data of 22 desert plant species growing in Minqin Desert Botanical Garden in Northwest China during the period 1974–2009. The results indicate: (1) The temperature in the study area has risen quickly since 1974, and plants’ growing periods became longer. The spring phenology of mesophytes advanced, and the autumn phenology of xerophytes was delayed; (2) The starting dates of spring phenophase of mesophytes and xerophytes differed significantly and both showed an advancing trend; (3) The spring phenology of mesophytes advanced by more days than that of xerophytes, whereas the autumn phenology of mesophytes was delayed by less days than that of the xerophytes; and (4) Mesophytes are more sensitive than xerophytes to rising temperature in spring and falling temperature in autumn. These findings are of value in plant management and regional introduction of different species.

Key wordsPechora Pipit      Anthus gustavi      new record      avian      Lop Nur      Xinjiang     
Received: 19 September 2011      Published: 06 June 2012

The Pre-phase Project of the State 973 Program (2011CB411912) and Gansu Natural Science Fund Project.

Corresponding Authors: ShuJuan ZHU     E-mail:
Cite this article:

ZhaoFeng CHANG, ShuJuan ZHU, FuGui HAN, ShengNian ZHONG. Differences in response of desert plants of different ecotypes to climate warming: a case study in Minqin, Northwest China. Journal of Arid Land, 2012, 4(2): 140-150.

URL:     OR

Aronson J, Kige J, Shmida, et al. 1992. Adaptive phenology of desert and Mediterranean populations of annual plants grown with and without water stress. Oecologia, 89: 17–26.

Badeck F W, Bondeau A, Böttcher K, et al. 2004. Responses of spring phenology to climate change. New Phytologist, 162: 295–309.

Bai J, Ge Q S, Dai J H. 2009. Response of woody plant phenophases to climate change for recent 30 years in Guiyang. Geographical Re-search, 28(6): 1606–1614.

Bai J, Ge Q S, Dai J H, 2010. The response of first flowering dates to abrupt climate change in Beijing. Advances in Atmospheric Sci-ences. doi: 10.1007/s00376-010-9219–8.

Both C, Visser M E. 2001. Adjustment to climate change is constrained by arrival date in a long–distance migrant bird. Nature, 411, 296–298.

Bowers Janice E. 2007. Has climatic warming altered spring flowering date of Sonoran desert shrubs? The Southwestern Naturalist, 52(3): 347–355

Bradley N L, Leopold A C, Ross J, et al. 1999. Phenological changes reflect climate change in Wisconsin. Proceedings of Natural Acad-emy of Sciences of the United States of America, 96: 9701–9704.

Chang Z F, Zhao M, 2006. Study on Desert Ecology in Minqin. Lan-zhou: Gansu Science and Technology Press, 30–64.

Chang Z F, Zhao M, Han F G, et al. 2008. Phenological characteristics of desert plants in Minqin desert area. Scientia Silvae Sinicae, 44(5): 58–64.

Chang Z F, Wang Q Q, Han F G, et al. 2011. Phenological responses of different life form plants in Minqin desert area to climate warming. Journal of Ecology, 39(9): 1921–1929.

Chmielewski F M, Thomas R. 2001. Response of tree phenology to climate change across Europe. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 108(2): 101–112.

Crick H Q P, Dudley C, Glue D E, et al. 1997. UK birds are laying eggs earlier. Nature, 388: 526.

Dai J H, Ge Q S, Zheng J Y, et al. 2005a. An analysis on the relation-ship between recent warming and changes of plants phenophases in Beijing. Annalen der Meterologie, 41(2): 543–546.

Dai J H, Pan Y, Cui H T, et al. 2005b. Impacts of climate change on alpine vegetation on Wutai Mountains. Quaternary Sciences, 25(2): 216–223.

Dai J H, Zheng J Y, Ge Q S. 2006. Hotspot of the current bio-meteorology research–the 17th international bio-meteorology con-ference held in Garmisch•Partenkerche. Geologica Sinica, 61(2): 223.

El-Ghani M M A. 1997. Phenology of ten common plant species in western Saudi Arabia. Journal of Arid Environments, 35: 673–683.

Ge Q S, Zheng J Y, Zhang X X, 2003. Research on the climate and phenological changes in China in the past 40 years. Natural Sci-ences Process, 13(10): 1048–1053.

Ge Q S, Dai J H, Zheng J Y. 2010. The progress of phenology studies and challenges to modern phenology research in China. Bulletin of Chinese Academy of Sciences, 25(3): 310–316.

Ghazanfar S A. 1997. The phenology of desert plants: a 3-year study in a gravel desert wadi in northern Oman. Journal of Arid Environ-ments, 35: 407–417.

Matsumoto K, Ohta T, Irasawa M, et al. 2003. Climate change and extension of the Gingko biloba L. growing season in Japan. Global Change Biology, 9: 1634–1642.

Menzel A, Fabian P. 1999. Growing season extended in Europe. Nature, 397: 659.

Menzel A. 2000. Trends in phenological phases in Europe between 1951 and 1996. International Journal of Biometeorology, 44(2): 76–81.

Menzel A. 2002. Phenology: its importance to the global change com-munity. Climate Change, 54: 379–385.

Menzel A, Sparks T H, Estrella N C, et al. 2006. European phenologi-cal response to climate change matches the warming pattern. Global Change Biology, 12: 1969–1976.

Myneni R B. 1997. Increase plant growth in the northern high latitudes from 1981 to 1991. Nature, 386: 698.

Piao S L, Fang J Y, Zhou L M. 2006. Variations in satellite-derived phenol-ogy in China’s temperate vegetation. Global Change Biology, (12): 672–685.

Rötzer T, Wittenzeller M, Haechel H, et al. 2000. Phenology in central Europe: differences and trends for spring phenophases in urban and rural areas. International Journal Biometeorolkgy, 44(2): 60–66.

Schwartz M D, Reiter B E. 2000. Changes in North American spring. International Journal of Climatology, 20: 929–932.

Wan M W, Liu X Z. 1987. The Observation Methods of Phenology in China. Beijing: Science Press.

White M Z, Running S W, Thornton P E. 1999. The impact of growing season length variability on carbon assimilation and evapotranspira-tion over 88 years in the eastern US deciduous forest. International Journal Biometeorology, 42(3): 139–145.

Yang Z H, E Y H. 2000. A phenology research on the main xylophyte in arid desert area–an example on cultivated plants of Minqin Desert Botanical Garden. Acta Botanica Boreali-Occidentalia Sinica, 20: 1102–1109.

Zheng J Y, Ge Q S, Hao Z X. 2002. Impacts of climate warming on plants phenophases in China for the last 40 years. Chinese Science Bulletin, 47(20): 1582–1587.

Zhou L, Tucker C J, Kaufmann R K. 2001. Variation in northern vege-tation activity inferred from satellite data of vegetation index during 1981 to 1999. Journal of Geophysical Research, 106(D17): 20069–20083.

Zhu K Z, Wan M W. 1980. Phenology. Beijing: Science Press.

Zhu S J, Chang Z F. 2011. Temperature and precipitation trends in Minqin desert during the period of 1961–2007. Journal of Arid Land, 3(3): 214–219.
[1] JIA Hao, WANG Zhenhua, ZHANG Jinzhu, LI Wenhao, REN Zuoli, JIA Zhecheng, WANG Qin. Effects of biodegradable mulch on soil water and heat conditions, yield and quality of processing tomatoes by drip irrigation[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2020, 12(5): 819-836.
[2] 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[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2019, 11(6): 855-865.
[3] Congjuan LI, Ran LIU, Shijie WANG, Yongqiang SUN, Shengyu LI, Heng ZHANG, Jie GAO, Yanxi DANG, Lili ZHANG. Growth and sustainability of Suaeda salsa in the Lop Nur, China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2018, 10(3): 429-440.
[4] Tao WANG, Jianjun QU, Yuquan LING, Shengbo XIE, Jianhua XIAO. Wind tunnel test on the effect of metal net fences on sand flux in a Gobi Desert, China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2017, 9(6): 888-899.
[5] Jinling LYU, Hua LIU, Xihe WANG, OLAVE Rodrigo, Changyan TIAN, Xuejun LIU. Crop yields and soil organic carbon dynamics in a long-term fertilization experiment in an extremely arid region of northern Xinjiang, China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2017, 9(3): 345-354.
[6] XIA Yong, Paul HOLT, WANG Yaotian, GOU Jun, CAI Xinbin, WANG Chuanbo, DING Peng, LIN Xuanlong. Glaucous gull (Larus hyperboreus): a new bird record in Xinjiang, China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2016, 8(5): 815-818.
[7] WU Yanfeng, Batur BAKE, ZHANG Jusong, Hamid RASULOV. Spatio-temporal patterns of drought in North Xinjiang, China, 1961–2012 based on meteorological drought index[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2015, 7(4): 527-543.
[8] 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.
[9] Ke ZHANG, ChunJian LI, ZhongShao LI, FuHai ZHANG, ZhenYong ZHAO, ChangYan TIAN. Characteristics of mineral elements in shoots of three annual halophytes in a saline desert, Northern Xinjiang[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2013, 5(2): 244-254.
[10] Ke ZHANG, ChangYan TIAN, ChunJian LI. Root growth and spatio-temporal distribution of three common annual halophytes in a saline desert, northern Xinjiang[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2012, 4(3): 330-341.
[11] Yong ZHAO, YongJie FANG, CaiXia CUI, AnNing HUANG. Effects of irrigation on precipitation in the arid regions of Xinjiang, China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2012, 4(2): 132-139.
[12] WenJun HU, JieBin ZHANG, YongQiang LIU. The qanats of Xinjiang: historical development, characteristics and modern implications for environmental protection[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2012, 4(2): 211-220.
[13] Hong TANG, DeGang YANG, XinHuan ZHANG, XinYi XIANG. Ecological migration effects on the Tianchi Scenic Area in Xinjiang: from the perspective of migrant farmer families[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2012, 4(1): 95-104.
[14] 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.
[15] LiPing LI, XiangPing WANG, Stefan ZERBE, LiYun ZHANG, JingYun FANG. Altitudinal patterns of stand structure and herb layer diversity of Picea schrenkiana forests in the central Tianshan Mountains, Northwest China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2011, 3(4): 254-260.