Plant Ecology

, Volume 209, Issue 2, pp 279–290

Responses of saltcedar (Tamarix chinensis) to water table depth and soil salinity in the Yellow River Delta, China

  • Baoshan Cui
  • Qichun Yang
  • Kejiang Zhang
  • Xinsheng Zhao
  • Zheyuan You


Significant studies about Tamarix chinensis as an introduced invasive plant species have been implemented in North America. However, the response of native T. chinensis to its environment is not well known in China. T. chinensis is a useful species in preventing sea water intrusion in coastal areas of northern China. It is necessary to fully understand the relationships between environmental conditions and ecological characteristics of this species to better preserve its habitats. The Yellow River Delta Natural Reserve, one of the major distribution regions of T. chinensis, was then selected as a case study area to investigate the response of this species to water table depth and soil salinity (Na+, Cl, Mg2+). It was found that sites with shallow water table depths (less than 1.5 m) and low soil salinity (less than 30 psu), provided the best habitat conditions for T. chinensis. The results also showed that plant height, stem diameter, and crown width were all positively correlated to plant age, while they had negative correlations with water table depth. Negative correlations between plant height and soil salinity, plant stem diameter and soil salinity were also concluded. However, no obvious relationship between the crown breadth of T. chinensis and soil salinity was observed. Four types of T. chinensis habitats were obtained based on the ecological characteristics of T. chinensis individuals associated with soil salinity and water table depth, i.e., (1) Low water table with high soil salinity; (2) Deep water table with high soil salinity; (3) Deep water table with low soil salinity; (4) Inundation with low salinity. These results provide a sound basis for wetland management in the Yellow River Delta.


Saltcedar (Tamarix chinensisDistribution Soil salinity Ecological characteristics Water table depth Yellow River Delta 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Baoshan Cui
    • 1
  • Qichun Yang
    • 1
  • Kejiang Zhang
    • 2
  • Xinsheng Zhao
    • 1
  • Zheyuan You
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Environment, State Key Joint Laboratory of Environmental Simulation and Pollution ControlBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Department of Civil Engineering, The Centre of Environmental Engineering Research and Education (CEERE)University of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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