• Community structure and carbon and nitrogen storage of sagebrush desert under grazing exclusion in Northwest China

    分类: 地球科学 >> 地球科学史 提交时间: 2020-06-22 合作期刊: 《干旱区科学》

    摘要: Overgrazing is regarded as one of the key factors of vegetation and soil degradation in the arid and semi-arid regions of Northwest China. Grazing exclusion (GE) is one of the most common pathways used to restore degraded grasslands and to improve their ecosystem services. Nevertheless, there are still significant controversies concerning GE's effects on grassland diversity as well as carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) storage. It remains poorly understood in the arid desert regions, whilst being essential for the sustainable use of grassland resources. To assess the effects of GE on community characteristics and C and N storage of desert plant community in the arid desert regions, we investigated the community structure and plant biomass, as well as C and N storage of plants and soil (0–100 cm depth) in short-term GE (three years) plots and adjacent long-term freely grazing (FG) plots in the areas of sagebrush desert in Northwest China, which are important both for spring-autumn seasonal pasture and for ecological conservation. Our findings indicated that GE was beneficial to the average height, coverage and aboveground biomass (including stems, leaves and inflorescences, and litter) of desert plant community, to the species richness and importance values of subshrubs and perennial herbs, and to the biomass C and N storage of aboveground parts (P<0.05). However, GE was not beneficial to the importance values of annual herbs, root/shoot ratio and total N concentration in the 0–5 and 5–10 cm soil layers (P<0.05). Additionally, the plant density, belowground biomass, and soil organic C concentration and C storage in the 0–100 cm soil layer could not be significantly changed by short-term GE (three years). The results suggest that, although GE was not beneficial for C sequestration in the sagebrush desert ecosystem, it is an effective strategy for improving productivity, diversity, and C and N storage of plants. As a result, GE can be used to rehabilitate degraded grasslands in the arid desert regions of Northwest China.

  • Effects of desert plant communities on soil enzyme activities and soil organic carbon in the proluvial fan in the eastern foothills of the Helan Mountain in Ningxia, China

    分类: 农、林、牧、渔 >> 土壤学 提交时间: 2024-05-15 合作期刊: 《干旱区科学》

    摘要: It is of great significance to study the effects of desert plants on soil enzyme activities and soil organic carbon (SOC) for maintaining the stability of the desert ecosystem. In this study, we studied the responses of soil enzyme activities and SOC fractions (particulate organic carbon (POC) and mineral-associated organic carbon (MAOC)) to five typical desert plant communities (Convolvulus tragacanthoides, Ephedra rhytidosperma, Stipa breviflora, Stipa tianschanica var. gobica, and Salsola laricifolia communities) in the proluvial fan in the eastern foothills of the Helan Mountain in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, China. We recorded the plant community information mainly including the plant coverage and herb and shrub species, and obtained the aboveground biomass and plant species diversity through sample surveys in late July 2023. Soil samples were also collected at depths of 0–10 cm (topsoil) and 10–20 cm (subsoil) to determine the soil physicochemical properties and enzyme activities. The results showed that the plant coverage and aboveground biomass of S. laricifolia community were significantly higher than those of C. tragacanthoides, S. breviflora, and S. tianschanica var. gobica communities (P<0.05). Soil enzyme activities varied among different plant communities. In the topsoil, the enzyme activities of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and β-1,4-glucosidas (βG) were significantly higher in E. rhytidosperma and S. tianschanica var. gobica communities than in other plant communities (P<0.05). The topsoil had higher POC and MAOC contents than the subsoil. Specifically, the content of POC in the topsoil was 18.17%–42.73% higher than that in the subsoil. The structural equation model (SEM) indicated that plant species diversity, soil pH, and soil water content (SWC) were the main factors influencing POC and MAOC. The soil pH inhibited the formation of POC and promoted the formation of MAOC. Conversely, SWC stimulated POC production and hindered MAOC formation. Our study aimed to gain insight into the effects of desert plant communities on soil enzyme activities and SOC fractions, as well as the drivers of SOC fractions in the proluvial fan in the eastern foothills of the Helan Mountain and other desert ecosystems.