Ecological Research

, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 867–874 | Cite as

Contrasting effects of clipping and nutrient addition on reproductive traits of Heteropappus altaicus at the individual and population levels

  • Ming-Yu Wu
  • Shu-Li NiuEmail author
  • Shi-Qiang Wan
Original Article


This study was conducted to examine the effects of clipping and nutrient addition on plant traits of a dominant perennial forb species, Heteropappus altaicus (Willd.) Novopokr. (Compositae), at both the individual and population levels in a temperate steppe in northern China. A nested experimental design was used with clipping as the main factor and nutrient, including nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and both, addition as the second factor. The main effect of clipping reduced plant height, aboveground biomass (AGB) per plant, and pollen production per floret by 15.8, 34.3, 28.0% (all p < 0.05), respectively, but enhanced reproductive allocation and population density by 8 and 28.2% (both p < 0.05), respectively, suggesting contrary effects of clipping on H. altaicus traits at the individual and population levels. N addition significantly stimulated plant height, AGB per plant, reproductive allocation, pollen diameter, and pistil length, but decreased population density. The main effects of P addition also stimulated the plant traits at individual level, but did not change population traits. The significant interactions of clipping and nitrogen addition were observed on AGB per plant, pollen production, and population density. The differential responses of H. altaicus at the individual and population levels to clipping and nutrient addition indicate that the future dynamics of H. altaicus in the temperate steppe are uncertain and need long-term research to demonstrate.


Clipping Heteropappus altaicus Inflorescence Nitrogen Phosphorus Pollen Population Temperate steppe 



This study was conducted as part of a comprehensive research project (Global Change Multi-factor Experiment-Duolun) sponsored by the Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences. This study was financially supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology (2007CB106803), Chinese Academy of Sciences (Hundred Talents Program), and State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change.


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Copyright information

© The Ecological Society of Japan 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of BotanyChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.School of Life ScienceHubei UniversityWuhanChina

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