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10 December 2019, Volume 11 Issue 6 Previous Issue    Next Issue
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Orginal Article
Mesophyll thickness and sclerophylly among Calotropis procera morphotypes reveal water-saved adaptation to environments
Journal of Arid Land. 2019, 11 (6): 795-810.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-019-0016-7
Abstract ( 337 )   HTML ( 134 )     PDF (3195KB) ( 1035 )  

Calotropis procera (Aiton) Dryand (Apocynaceae) is a native species in tropical and subtropical Africa and Asia. However, due to its fast growing and drought-tolerant, it has become an invasive species when it was introduced into Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean Islands. Currently, C. procera displays a wide distribution in the world. Invasiveness is important, in particular, because many invasive species exert a high reproductive pressure on the invaded communities or are highly productive in their new distributed areas. It has been suggested that a very deep root system and a high capacity to reduce stomatal conductance during water shortage could allow this species to maintain the water status required for a normal function. However, the true mechanism behind the successful distribution of C. procera across wet and dry environments is still unknown. C. procera leaves were collected from 12 natural populations in Brazil, Colombia and Mexico, ranging from wet to dry environments during 2014-2015. Many traits of morphology and anatomy from these distinct morphotypes were evaluated. We found that C. procera leaves had a considerable capacity to adjust their morphological, anatomical and physiological traits to different environments. The magnitude of acclimation responses, i.e., plasticity, had been hypothesized to reflect the specialized adaptation of plant species to a particular environment. However, allometric models for leaf area (LA) estimation cannot be grouped as a single model. Leaves are narrower and thicker with low amounts of air spaces inside the leaf parenchyma in wet environments, while they are broader and thinner with a small number of palisade cell layers in dry environments. Based on these, we argue that broader and thinner leaves of C. procera dissipate incident energy at the expense of a higher rate of transpiration to survive in environments in which water is the most limiting factor and to compete in favorable wet environments.

Effects of recovery time after fire and fire severity on stand structure and soil of larch forest in the Kanas National Nature Reserve, Northwest China
LIU Xiaoju, PAN Cunde
Journal of Arid Land. 2019, 11 (6): 811-823.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-019-0022-9
Abstract ( 264 )   HTML ( 121 )     PDF (911KB) ( 706 )  

Forest recovery may be influenced by several factors, of which fire is the most critical. However, moderate- and long-term effects of fire on forest recovery are less researched in Northwest China. Thus, the effects of different forest recovery time after fire (1917 (served as the control), 1974, 1983 and 1995) and fire severities (low, moderate and high) on larch (Larix sibirica Ledeb.) forest were investigated in the Kanas National Nature Reserve (KNNR), Northwest China in 2017. This paper analyzed post-fire changes in stand density, total basal area (TBA), litter mass, soil organic carbon (SOC) and soil nutrients (total nitrogen, total phosphorus and total potassium) with one-way analyses of variance. Results indicate that litter mass, TBA, SOC and soil nutrients increased with increasing recovery time after fire and decreasing fire severity, while the stand density showed an opposite response. The effects of fire disturbance on SOC and soil nutrients decreased with increasing soil depth. Moreover, we found that the time of more than 43 a is needed to recover the litter mass, TBA, SOC and soil nutrients to the pre-fire level. In conclusion, high-severity fire caused the greatest variations in stand structure and soil of larch forest, and low-severity fire was more advantageous for post-fire forest stand structure and soil recovery in the KNNR. Therefore, low-severity fire can be an efficient management mean through reducing the accumulation of forest floor fuel of post-fire forests in the KNNR, Northwest China.

Responses in gross primary production of Stipa krylovii and Allium polyrhizum to a temporal rainfall in a temperate grassland of Inner Mongolia, China
HU Xiaoxing, Mitsuru HIROTA, Wuyunna, Kiyokazu KAWADA, LI Hao, MENG Shikang, Kenji TAMURA, Takashi KAMIJO
Journal of Arid Land. 2019, 11 (6): 824-836.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-019-0127-1
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In the arid and semi-arid areas of China, rainfall and drought affect the growth and photosynthetic activities of plants. Gross primary productivity (GPP) is one of the most important indices that measure the photosynthetic ability of plants. This paper focused on the GPP of two representative grassland species (Stipa krylovii Roshev. and Allium polyrhizum Turcz. ex Regel) to demonstrate the effect of a temporal rainfall on the two species. Our research was conducted in a temperate grassland in New Barag Right Banner, Hulun Buir City, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China, in a dry year 2015. We measured net ecosystem productivity (NEP) and ecosystem respiration flux (ER) using a transparent chamber system and monitored the photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), air and soil temperature and humidity simultaneously. Based on the measured values of NEP and ER, we calculated the GPP of the two species before and after the rainfall. The saturated GPP per aboveground biomass (GPPAGB) of A. polyrhizum remarkably increased from 0.033 (±0.018) to 0.185 (±0.055) μmol CO2/(gdw?s) by 5.6-fold and that of S. krylovii decreased from 0.068 (±0.021) to 0.034 (±0.011) μmol CO2/(gdw?s) by 0.5-fold on the 1st and 2nd d after a 9.1 mm rainfall event compared to the values before the rainfall at low temperatures below 35°C. However, on the 1st and 2nd d after the rainfall, both of the saturated GPPAGB values of S. krylovii and A. polyrhizum were significantly lower at high temperatures above 35°C (0.018 (±0.007) and 0.110 (±0.061) μmol CO2/(gdw?s), respectively) than at low temperatures below 35°C (0.034 (±0.011) and 0.185 (±0.055) μmol CO2/(gdw?s), respectively). The results showed that the GPP responses to the temporal rainfall differed between S. krylovii and A. polyrhizum and strongly negative influenced by temperature. The temporal rainfall seems to be more effective on the GPP of A. polyrhizum than S. krylovii. These differences might be related to the different physiological and structural features, the coexistence of the species and their species-specific survival strategies.

Spatio-temporal dynamics of vegetation in Jungar Banner of China during 2000-2017
LI Xinhui, LEI Shaogang, CHENG Wei, LIU Feng, WANG Weizhong
Journal of Arid Land. 2019, 11 (6): 837-854.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-019-0067-9
Abstract ( 318 )   HTML ( 21 )     PDF (15248KB) ( 678 )  

It is known that the exploitation of opencast coal mines has seriously damaged the environments in the semi-arid areas. Vegetation status can reliably reflect the ecological degeneration and restoration in the opencast mining areas in the semi-arid areas. Long-time series MODIS NDVI data are widely used to simulate the vegetation cover to reflect the disturbance and restoration of local ecosystems. In this study, both qualitative (linear regression method and coefficient of variation (CoV)) and quantitative (spatial buffer analysis, and change amplitude and the rate of change in the average NDVI) analyses were conducted to analyze the spatio-temporal dynamics of vegetation during 2000-2017 in Jungar Banner of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China, at the large (Jungar Banner and three mine groups) and small (three types of functional areas: opencast coal mining excavation areas, reclamation areas and natural areas) scales. The results show that the rates of change in the average NDVI in the reclamation areas (20%-60%) and opencast coal mining excavation areas (10%-20%) were considerably higher than that in the natural areas (<7%). The vegetation in the reclamation areas experienced a trend of increase (3-5 a after reclamation)-decrease (the sixth year of reclamation)-stability. The vegetation in Jungar Banner has a spatial heterogeneity under the influences of mining and reclamation activities. The ratio of vegetation improvement area to vegetation degradation area in the west, southwest and east mine groups during 2000-2017 was 8:1, 20:1 and 33:1, respectively. The regions with the high CoV of NDVI above 0.45 were mainly distributed around the opencast coal mining excavation areas, and the regions with the CoV of NDVI above 0.25 were mostly located in areas with low (28.8%) and medium-low (10.2%) vegetation cover. The average disturbance distances of mining activities on vegetation in the three mine groups (west, southwest and east) were 800, 800 and 1000 m, respectively. The greater the scale of mining, the farther the disturbance distances of mining activities on vegetation. We conclude that vegetation reclamation will certainly compensate for the negative impacts of opencast coal mining activities on vegetation. Sufficient attention should be paid to the proportional allocation of plant species (herbs and shrubs) in the reclamation areas, and the restored vegetation in these areas needs to be protected for more than 6 a. Then, as the repair time increased, the vegetation condition of the reclamation areas would exceed that of the natural areas.

Changes in the relationship between species richness and belowground biomass among grassland types and along environmental gradients in Xinjiang, Northwest China
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
Journal of Arid Land. 2019, 11 (6): 855-865.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-019-0068-8
Abstract ( 242 )   HTML ( 16 )     PDF (766KB) ( 575 )  

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.

Water transport and water use efficiency differ among Populus euphratica Oliv. saplings exposed to saline water irrigation
ZHOU Honghua, CHEN Yaning, ZHU Chenggang, YANG Yuhai, YE Zhaoxia
Journal of Arid Land. 2019, 11 (6): 866-879.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-019-0002-0
Abstract ( 224 )   HTML ( 5 )     PDF (1785KB) ( 752 )  

Populus euphratica Oliv. is a unique woody tree that can be utilized for vegetation restoration in arid and semi-arid areas. The effects of saline water irrigation (0.00, 2.93, 8.78 and 17.55 g/L NaCl solutions) on water transport and water use efficiency (WUE) of P. euphratica saplings were researched for improving the survival of P. euphratica saplings and vegetation restoration in arid and semi-arid areas of Xinjiang, China in 2011. Results showed that hydraulic conductivity and vulnerability to cavitation of P. euphratica saplings were more sensitive in root xylem than in twig xylem when irrigation water salinity increased. Irrigation with saline water concentration less than 8.78 g/L did not affect the growth of P. euphratica saplings, under which they maintained normal water transport in twig xylem through adjustment of anatomical structure of vessels and kept higher WUE and photosynthesis in leaves through adjustment of stomata. However, irrigation with saline water concentration up to 17.55 g/L severely inhibited the photochemical process and WUE of P. euphratica saplings, resulting in severe water-deficit in leaves and a sharp reduction in water transport in xylem. Thus, it is feasible to irrigate P. euphratica forest by using saline groundwater for improving the survival of P. euphratica saplings and vegetation restoration in arid and semi-arid areas of Xinjiang, China.

Severe drought strongly reduces water use and its recovery ability of mature Mongolian Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris var. mongolica Litv.) in a semi-arid sandy environment of northern China
DANG Hongzhong, ZHANG Lizhen, YANG Wenbin, FENG Jinchao, HAN Hui, CHEN Yiben
Journal of Arid Land. 2019, 11 (6): 880-891.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-019-0029-2
Abstract ( 269 )   HTML ( 9 )     PDF (930KB) ( 747 )  

Trees growing in a semi-arid sandy environment are often exposed to drought conditions due to seasonal variations in precipitation, low soil water retention and deep groundwater level. However, adaptability and plasticity of individuals to the changing drought conditions greatly vary among tree species. In this study, we estimated water use (Ts) of Mongolian Scots pine (MSP; Pinus sylvestris var. mongolica Litv.) based on sap flux density measurements over four successive years (2013-2016) that exhibited significant fluctuations in precipitation in a semi-arid sandy environment of northern China. The results showed that fluctuations in daily Ts synchronously varied with dry-wet cycles of soil moisture over the study period. The daily ratio of water use to reference evapotranspiration (Ts/ET0) on sunny days in each year showed a negative linear relationship with the severity of drought in the upper soil layer (0-1 m; P<0.01). The decrease in Ts induced by erratic drought during the growing season recovered due to precipitation. However, this recovery ability failed under prolonged and severe droughts. The Ts/ET0 ratio significantly declined with the progressive reduction in the groundwater level (gw) over the study period (P<0.01). We concluded that the upper soil layer contributed the most to the Ts of MSP during the growing season. The severity and duration of droughts in this layer greatly reduced Ts. Nevertheless, gw determined whether the Ts could completely recover after the alleviation of long-term soil drought. These results provide practical information for optimizing MSP management to stop ongoing degradation in the semi-arid sandy environments.

Impacts of climate warming and crop management on maize phenology in northern China
XIAO Dengpan, ZHAO Yanxi, BAI Huizi, HU Yukun, CAO Jiansheng
Journal of Arid Land. 2019, 11 (6): 892-903.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-019-0028-3
Abstract ( 185 )   HTML ( 10 )     PDF (1289KB) ( 667 )  

Climate warming has and will continue to exert a significantly impact on crop phenology in the past and coming decades. Combining observed data of phenology and a crop growth model provides a good approach for quantitating the effects of climate warming and crop management on crop phenology. The purpose of this study is to determine the impacts of temperature change, sowing date (SD) adjustment and cultivar shift on maize phenology in northern China during 1981-2010. Results indicated that climate warming caused anthesis date (AD) and maturity date (MD) of maize to advance by 0.2?5.5 and 0.6?11.1 d/10a, respectively. Due to climate-driven changes in maize phenology, three growth periods of maize, i.e., vegetative growth period (VGP; from sowing to anthesis), reproductive growth period (RGP; from anthesis to maturity) and whole growth period (WGP; from sowing to maturity) shortened by 0.2?5.5, 0.4?5.6 and 0.6?11.1 d/10a, respectively. With SD adjustment (i.e., SD advancement), AD and MD occurred early by 0.5?2.6 and 0.1?3.4 d/10a, respectively. SD adjustment caused duration of VGP of maize to prolong. However, duration of RGP slightly shortened by 0.1?1.3 d/10a. Furthermore, due to cultivar shift, MD of maize significantly delayed by 4.9?12.2 d/10a. Durations of VGP, RGP and WGP of maize prolonged by 0.2?4.1, 1.6?8.4 and 4.3?11.8 d/10a, respectively. In conclusion, our results indicated that cultivar shift, to some extent, could mitigate the negative impact of climate warming on maize phenology.

Effects of three types of soil amendments on yield and soil nitrogen balance of maize-wheat rotation system in the Hetao Irrigation Area, China
WU Yan, LI Fei, ZHENG Haichun, HONG Mei, HU Yuncai, ZHAO Bayinnamula, DE Haishan
Journal of Arid Land. 2019, 11 (6): 904-915.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-019-0005-x
Abstract ( 232 )   HTML ( 5 )     PDF (371KB) ( 822 )  

Excessive fertilization combined with unreasonable irrigation in farmland of the Hetao Irrigation Area (HIR), China, has resulted in a large amount of nitrogen (N) losses and agricultural non-point source pollution. Application of soil amendments has become one of the important strategies for reducing N losses of farmland. However, there is still no systematic study on the effects of various soil amendments on N losses in the HIR. In this study, three types of soil amendments (biochar, bentonite and polyacrylamide) were applied in a maize-wheat rotation system in the HIR during 2015-2017. Yields of maize and wheat, soil NH3 volatilization, N2O emission and NO3- leaching were determined and soil N balance was estimated. The results showed that applications of biochar, bentonite and polyacrylamide significantly increased yields of maize by 9.2%, 14.3% and 13.3%, respectively, and wheat by 9.2%, 16.6% and 12.3%, respectively, compared with the control (fertilization alone). Applications of biochar, bentonite and polyacrylamide significantly reduced soil N leaching by 23.1%, 35.5% and 27.1%, soil NH3-N volatilization by 34.8%, 52.7% and 37.8%, and soil N surplus by 23.9%, 37.4% and 30.6%, respectively. Applications of bentonite and polyacrylamide significantly reduced N2O-N emissions from soil by 37.3% and 35.8%, respectively, compared with the control. Compared with application of biochar, applications of bentonite and polyacrylamide increased yields of maize and wheat by 5.1% and 3.5%, respectively. Our results suggest that soil amendments (bentonite and polyacrylamide) can play important roles in reducing N losses and increasing yield for the maize-wheat rotation system in the HIR, China.

Effects of temperature and light on seed germination of ephemeral plants in the Gurbantunggut Desert, China: implications for vegetation restoration
CHEN Yanfeng, CAO Qiumei, LI Dexin, LIU Huiliang, ZHANG Daoyuan
Journal of Arid Land. 2019, 11 (6): 916-927.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-019-0027-4
Abstract ( 225 )   HTML ( 7 )     PDF (1073KB) ( 745 )  

Seed germination is a key transitional stage in plant life cycle and is strongly regulated by temperature and light. Therefore, research on the effects of temperature and light on seed germination is extremely meaningful for vegetation restoration, especially in desert ecosystems. Seeds of 28 ephemeral plants collected from the Gurbantunggut Desert of China were incubated at different temperatures (5°C/1°C, 15°C/5°C, 20°C/5°C, 25°C/10°C and 30°C/15°C) in 12-h light/12-h darkness or continuous darkness regimes, and the responses of seed germination to temperature and light and the germination speed were studied in 2016. Results showed that seed germination percentage of the 28 ephemeral plants significantly differed to temperature and light. We classified the studied plants as the following groups based on their responses to temperature: 1 low temperature responsed plants, 12 moderate temperature responsed plants, 7 high temperature responsed plants, 4 non-responsed plants and 5 plants of no germination. It should be noted that Corispermum lehmannianum Bunge is sensitive to both moderate and high temperatures. There were 4 groups of plant in response to light, i.e., 7 light responsed plants, 10 dark responsed plants, 6 light non-responsed plants and 5 plants of no germination. Based on seed germination speed of the 28 ephemeral plants, we divided them into 4 patterns of germination, i.e., very rapid, moderately rapid, moderate and slow. Combining variations of temperature, precipitation and sand dune types in the study area, we suggested that very rapid and moderately rapid germinated plants could be used to moving sand dunes in early spring during vegetation restoration, moderate germinated plants could be used to semi-fixed sand dunes in late autumn, and slow germinated plants could be used to sand plain in summer. Thus, seedling establishment and vegetation restoration would be improved by considering seed germination characteristics of these ephemeral plants in the Gurbantunggut Desert, China.

Natural vegetation restoration of Liaodong oak (Quercus liaotungensis Koidz.) forests rapidly increased the content and ratio of inert carbon in soil macroaggregates
SUN Lipeng, HE Lirong, WANG Guoliang, JING Hang, LIU Guobin
Journal of Arid Land. 2019, 11 (6): 928-938.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-019-0004-y
Abstract ( 233 )   HTML ( 3 )     PDF (3789KB) ( 544 )  

The lack of clarity of how natural vegetation restoration influences soil organic carbon (SOC) content and SOC components in soil aggregate fractions limits the understanding of SOC sequestration and turnover in forest ecosystems. The aim of this study was to explore how natural vegetation restoration affects the SOC content and ratio of SOC components in soil macroaggregates (>250 μm), microaggregates (53-250 μm), and silt and clay (<53 μm) fractions in 30-, 60-, 90- and 120-year-old Liaodong oak (Quercus liaotungensis Koidz.) forests, Shaanxi, China in 2015. And the associated effects of biomasses of leaf litter and different sizes of roots (0-0.5, 0.5-1.0, 1.0-2.0 and >2.0 mm diameter) on SOC components were studied too. Results showed that the contents of high activated carbon (HAC), activated carbon (AC) and inert carbon (IC) in the macroaggregates, microaggregates and silt and clay fractions increased with restoration ages. Moreover, IC content in the microaggregates in topsoil (0-20 cm) rapidly increased; peaking in the 90-year-old restored forest, and was 5.74 times higher than AC content. In deep soil (20-80 cm), IC content was 3.58 times that of AC content. Biomasses of 0.5-1.0 mm diameter roots and leaf litter affected the content of aggregate fractions in topsoil, while the biomass of >2.0 mm diameter roots affected the content of aggregate fractions in deep soil. Across the soil profiles, macroaggregates had the highest capacity for HAC sequestration. The effects of restoration ages on soil aggregate fractions and SOC content were less in deep soil than in topsoil. In conclusion, natural vegetation restoration of Liaodong oak forests improved the contents of SOC, especially IC within topsoil and deep soil. The influence of IC on aggregate stability was greater than the other SOC components, and the aggregate stability was significantly affected by the biomasses of litter, 0.5-1.0 mm diameter roots in topsoil and >2.0 mm diameter roots in deep soil. Natural vegetation restoration of Liaodong oak forests promoted SOC sequestration by soil macroaggregates.

Attribution analysis based on Budyko hypothesis for land evapotranspiration change in the Loess Plateau, China
HE Guohua, ZHAO Yong, WANG Jianhua, GAO Xuerui, HE Fan, LI Haihong, ZHAI Jiaqi, WANG Qingming, ZHU Yongnan
Journal of Arid Land. 2019, 11 (6): 939-953.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-019-0107-5
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Land evapotranspiration (ET) is an important process connecting soil, vegetation and the atmosphere, especially in regions that experience shortage in precipitation. Since 1999, the implementation of a large-scale vegetation restoration project has significantly improved the ecological environment of the Loess Plateau in China. However, the quantitative assessment of the contribution of vegetation restoration projects to long-term ET is still in its infancy. In this study, we investigated changes in land ET and associated driving factors from 1982to 2014 in the Loess Plateau using Budyko-based partial differential methods. Overall, annual ET slightly increased by 0.28 mm/a and there were no large fluctuations after project implementation. An attribution analysis showed that precipitation was the driving factor of inter-annual variability of land ET throughout the study period; the average impacts of precipitation, potential evapotranspiration, and vegetation restoration on ET change were 61.5%, 11.5% and 26.9%, respectively. These results provide an improved understanding of the relationship between vegetation condition change and climate variation on terrestrial ET in the study area and can support future decision-making regarding water resource availability.