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Journal of Arid Land  2019, Vol. 11 Issue (3): 461-476    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-019-0055-0
Desert vegetationdistribution and species-environment relationshipsinan oasis-desert ecotone ofnorthwestern China
Peng ZHAO1,2,3,4, Jianjun QU1,4,*(), Xianying XU2,3, Qiushi YU2,3, Shengxiu JIANG2,3, Heran ZHAO2,3
1Key Laboratory of Desert and Desertification, Northwest Institute of Eco-environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
2State Key Laboratory Breeding Base of Desertification and Aeolian Sand Disaster Combating, Gansu Desert Control Research Institute, Lanzhou 730070, China
3Gansu Minqin National Field Observation and Research Station on Ecosystem of Desertification Rangeland, Minqin 733000, China
4 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
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Environmental heterogeneity significantly affects the structure of ecological communities. Exploring vegetationdistribution and its relationship with environmental factorsis essential to understanding the abiotic mechanism(s)driving vegetation succession, especially in the ecologically fragile areas. In this study, based on the quantitative analysis of plant community and environmental factors in 68 plots at 10 different transects in the Minqin oasis-desert ecotone (ODE) of northwestern China, we investigated desert vegetation distribution and species-environment relationships using multivariate analysis.Two-way indicator species analysis (TWINSPAN), detrended correspondence analysis (DCA), and canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) methods were used. A total of 28 species, belonging to 27 genera in 8families,were identified. Chenopodiaceae, Zygophyllaceae, Gramineae, and Leguminosae were the largest families. Annual and perennial herbs accounted for 28.60% of the total number of plants, while shrubs (42.90%) werethe most dominant. Nitrariatangutorum was the constructive species of the desert plant community. We divided the 68plots surveyed in this study into 7 community types,according to the results of TWINSPAN. The distribution of these 7 communities in theDCAordination graph showed that species with a similar ecotype were clustered together. Results of CCA indicated that groundwater wasthe dominant factor influencing vegetation distribution, while distance between plot and oasis(Dis) and soil electrical conductivity (EC)were the local second-order factors. Our study suggests that optimizing the utilization of groundwater in oases is key to controlling the degradation of desert vegetation.The favorable topographic conditions of sand dunes should be fully utilized for vegetal dune stabilization, and the influence of soil salinity on the selection of afforestation tree species should be considered.

Key wordsTWINSPAN classification      ordination      desert plant      groundwater      oasis-desert ecotone      species-environment relationship      Minqin     
Received: 15 August 2018      Published: 10 June 2019
Corresponding Authors: Jianjun QU     E-mail:
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The second and third authors contributed equally to this work.

Cite this article:

Peng ZHAO, Jianjun QU, Xianying XU, Qiushi YU, Shengxiu JIANG, Heran ZHAO. Desert vegetationdistribution and species-environment relationshipsinan oasis-desert ecotone ofnorthwestern China. Journal of Arid Land, 2019, 11(3): 461-476.

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