Phenological response of Nitraria tangutorum to climate change in Minqin County, Gansu Province, northwest China
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Phenological data and the corresponding meteorological data are collected from the Minqin Desert Botanical Garden. Variations of phenological periods of N. tangutorum (a drought-resistant shrub) are analyzed, and correlations between the starting dates of all phenological periods and the corresponding precipitation, temperature, and relative humidity are discussed. Our conclusions suggest that the growing season of N. tangutorum has been extended by 18.3 days during 1975–2007, which has a significant correlation with yearly average temperatures. Starting and ending dates and duration time of budding period all display no apparent change, while starting date of the remaining spring phenophases shows an advance, and the ending date shows a delay. The duration time of these phenophases shows an apparent increase overall. However, the starting and ending dates of autumn’s phenological events all show a delay, and no clear trend is observed in duration time. Average short-term precipitation, temperature and relative humidity have an apparent influence on the starting date of most phenophases. However, no influences by average long-term precipitation, temperature and relative humidity were observed. The phenological variations of N. tangutorum have a great influence on its growth and reproduction, which will affect efforts to prevent desertification in the Minqin County.