Advertisement

Journal of Plant Research

, Volume 126, Issue 1, pp 63–72 | Cite as

Seed rain and its relationship with above-ground vegetation of degraded Kobresia meadows

  • Zhan-Huan ShangEmail author
  • Shi-Hai Yang
  • Jian-Jun Shi
  • Yan-Long Wang
  • Rui-Jun LongEmail author
Regular Paper

Abstract

Seed rain is a crucial element in vegetation regeneration, but has been rarely studied in high altitude regions, particularly degraded Kobresia meadow. Weed infestation is a distinctive feature of pasture degradation in Kobresia meadows on the Tibetan plateau, the ecological mechanism of which is closely related with vegetation’s seed rain. In this paper we assess the effect of vegetation degradation on seed rain and consider its implication for restoration of degraded Kobresia meadows in the headwater area of Yellow river, through analysis of seed species composition, number of seeds landing per m2 of soil surface, and their relationship with above ground vegetation. Vegetation degradation had an impact on the species composition and numbers of seeds in seed rain and their relationship with above-ground vegetation. Within the un-degraded meadow, which provided a closed vegetation cover, 35 % of the seed rain was of sedge and gramineae species. However, within the degraded meadows, as the extent of degradation increased, so the total number of seeds m−2 increased, with those derived from sedge and gramineae species forming a declining proportion of the total. Degradation of Kobresia meadow on the Tibetan plateau is exacerbated by the seed input of weed species (such as Oxytropis ochrocephala, Carum carvi, Aconitum pendulum, Pedicularis kansuensis in this study). Therefore, a major priority for the restoration of such degraded meadows should be the elimination of these weeds from the above ground vegetation by human intervention.

Keywords

Seed rain Vegetation degradation Kobresia meadow Weeds infestation Tibetan plateau 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41171417; 30730069). We thank Malcolm Gibb (Formerly of The Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research, UK) for suggestions and editing the manuscript.

References

  1. Aerts R, Maes W, November E, Behailu M, Poesen J, Deckers J, Hermy M, Muys B (2006) Surface runoff and seed trapping efficiency of shrubs in a regenerating semiarid woodland in northern Ethiopia. Catena 65:61–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alsos IG, Spjelkavik S, Engelskjøn T (2003) Seed bank size and composition of Betula nana, Vaccinium uliginosum, and Campanula rotundifolia habitats in Svalbard and northern Norway. Can J Bot 81:220–231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bloch-Petersen M, Brandt J, Olsen M (2006) Integration of European habitat monitoring based on plant life form composition as an indicator of environmental change and change in biodiversity. Geografisk Tidsskrift, Danish J Geogr 106:61–72Google Scholar
  4. Bu HY, Chen XL, Xu XL, Liu K, Jia P, Du GZ (2007) Seed mass and germination in an alpine meadow on the eastern Tsinghai-Tibet plateau. Plant Ecol 191:127–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Buisson E, Dutoit T, Torre F, Römermann C, Poschlod P (2006) The implications of seed rain and seed bank pattern for plant succession at the edges of abandoned field in Mediterranean landscapes. Agr Ecosyst Environ 115:6–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Callaway RM, Ridenour WM (2004) Novel weapons: a biochemically based hypothesis for invasive success and the evolution of increased competitive ability. Front Ecol Environ 2:436–443CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cao GM, Tang YH, Mo WH, Wang YS, Li YN, Zhao XQ (2004) Grazing intensity alters soil respiration in an alpine meadow on the Tibetan plateau. Soil Biol Biochem 36:237–243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chen Y, Tang H (2005) Desertification in north China: background, anthropogenic impacts and failures in combating it. Land Degrad Dev 16:367–376CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cole RJ, Holl KD, Zahawi RA (2010) Seed rain under tree islands planted to restore degraded lands in a tropical agricultural landscape. Ecol Appl 20:1255–1269PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Deiller A-F, Walter J-MN, Trémolières M (2003) Regeneration strategies in a temperate hardwood floodplain forest of the Upper Rhine: sexual versus vegetative reproduction of woody species. For Ecol Manag 180:215–225CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Deng ZF, Xie XL, Wang QJ, Zhou XM (2003) Dynamic analysis of seed rain and seed bank in Kobresia pygmaea meadow. Chin J Appl Environ Biol 9:7–10 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  12. Dovčiak M, Hrivnák R, Ujházy K, Gömöry D (2008) Seed rain and environmental controls on invasion of Picea abies into grassland. Plant Ecol 194:135–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Du MY, Kawashima S, Yonemura S, Zhang XZ, Chen SB (2004) Mutual influence between human activities and climate change in the Tibetan plateau during recent years. Glob Planet Change 41:241–249CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Feng RZ, Zhou WH, Long RJ, Ma YS (2010) Characteristics of soil physical, chemical and biological properties on degraded alpine meadows in the headwater areas of the Yangtze and Yellow rivers, Qinghai-Tibetan plateau. Chin J Soil Sci 41:263–269 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  15. Gu MH, Wen SJ, Zhang ST, Du GZ (2010) The effects of weed competition, clipping and fertilization treatments on the productivity of cultivated meadows on the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau. Can J Plant Sci 90:173–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Han LH, Shang ZH, Ren GH, Wang YL, Ma YS, Li XL, Long RJ (2011) The response of plants and soil black soil patch of the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau to variation of bare-patch areas. Acta Pratacul Sinica 20:1–6 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  17. Harris RB (2010) Rangeland degradation on the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau: a review of the evidence of its magnitude and causes. J Arid Environ 74:1–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Harwell MC, Havens KE (2003) Experimental studies on the recovery potential of submerged aquatic vegetation after flooding and desiccation in a large subtropical lake. Aquat Bot 77:135–151CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hölzel N, Otte A (2004) Assessing soil seed bank persistence in flood-meadows: The search for reliable traits. J Veg Sci 15:93–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lee EWS, Hau BCH, Corlett RT (2008) Seed rain and natural regeneration in Lophostemon confertus plantations in Hong Kong, China. New Forest 35:119–130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lehouck V, Spanhove T, Colson A, Adringa-Davis N, Cordeiro J, Lens L (2009) Habitat disturbance reduces seed dispersal of a forest interior tree in a fragmented African cloud forest. Oikos 118:1023–1034CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Li XL, Gao J, Brierley G, Qiao YM, Zhang J, Yang YW (2011) Rangeland degradation on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau: implications for rehabilitation. Land Degrad Dev. doi: 10.1002/Idr.1108 Google Scholar
  23. Liu SW (1996) Flora of Qinghai, vol 3. Qinghai People’s Press, Xining (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  24. Liu SW (1997) Flora of Qinghai, vol 1. Qinghai People’s Press, Xining (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  25. Liu SW (1999a) Flora of Qinghai, vol 2. Qinghai People’s Press, Xining (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  26. Liu SW (1999b) Flora of Qinghai, vol 4. Qinghai People’s Press, Xining (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  27. Liu W, Wang QJ, Wang X, Zhou L, Li YF, Li FJ (1999) Ecological process of forming ‘black-soil-type’ degraded grassland. Acta Agrestia Sinica 7:300–307 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  28. Long RJ, Shang ZH, Guo XS, Ding LM (2009) Case study 7: Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau Rangelands. In: Squires VR et al (eds) Rangeland degradation and recovery in China’s pastoral lands. CABI, UK, pp 184–196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Luzuriaga AL, Escudero A, Olano JM, Loidi J (2005) Regenerative role of seed banks following an intense soil disturbance. Acta Oecol 27:57–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lyaruu HVM (1999) Seed rain and its role in the recolonization of degraded hill slopes in semi-arid central Tanzania. Afric J Ecol 37:137–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Ma YS, Lang BN, Li QY, Shi JJ, Dong QM (2002) Study on rehabilitating and rebuilding technologies for degenerated alpine meadow in the Changjiang and Yellow river source region. Pratacul Sci 19:1–4 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  32. Ma RJ, Du GZ, Lu BR, Chen JK, Sun K, Hara T, Li B (2006a) Reproductive modes of three Ligularia weeds (Asteraceae) in grasslands in Qinghai-Tibet plateau and their implications for grassland management. Ecol Res 21:246–254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Ma YS, Shang ZH, Shi JJ, Dong QM, Wang YL, Yang SH (2006b) Studies on communities diversity and their structure of ‘black-soil-land’ degraded grassland in the headwater of Yellow River. Pratacul Sci 23:6–11 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  34. Mori A, Mizumachi E, Osono T, Doi Y (2004) Substrate-associated seedling recruitment and establishment of major conifer species in an old-growth subalpine forest in central Japan. For Ecol Manag 196:287–297CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Osumi K, Sakurai K (1997) Seedling emergence of Betula maximowicziana following human disturbance and the role of buried viable seeds. For Ecol Manag 93:235–243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Pakeman RJ, Small JL (2005) The role of the seed bank, seed rain and the timing of disturbance in gap regeneration. J Veg Sci 16:121–130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Pausas JG, Lloret F, Vilà M (2006) Simulating the effects of different disturbance regimes on Cortaderia selloana invasion. Biol Conserv 128:128–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Peterson JE, Baldwin AH (2004) Variation in wetland seed banks across a tidal freshwater landscape. Am J Bot 91:1251–1259PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Reiné R, Chocarro C, Fillat F (2004) Soil seed bank and management regimes of semi-natural mountain meadow communities. Agric Ecosyst Environ 104:567–575CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Ren JZ (1998) The scientific methods of grassland research. China Agriculture Press, Beijing (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  41. Renne IJ, Tracy BF (2007) Disturbance persistence in managed grasslands: shift in aboveground community structure and the weed seed bank. Plant Ecol 190:71–80CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Rossetto M, Kooyman RM (2005) The tension between dispersal and persistence regulates the current distribution of rare palaeo-endemic rain forest flora: a case study. J Ecol 93:906–917CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Shang ZH, Long RJ (2007) Formation causes and recovery of the ‘Black Soil Type’ degraded alpine grassland in Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Front Agric China 1:197–202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Shang ZH, Ding LL, Long RJ, Ma YS, Shi JJ, Yu XJ, Wang CT, Ding LM (2006a) Studies on soil microorganism numbers of different degraded alpine meadows in the headwater area of Yangtze and Yellow rivers. Grassland Turf 5:3–7 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  45. Shang ZH, Long RJ, Ma YS (2006b) Discuss on restoration and rebuilding of ‘Black Soil Patch’ degraded meadow in the headwater area of Yangtze and Yellow Rivers. Chin J Grassland 28:69–74 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  46. Shang ZH, Long RJ, Ma YS, Zhang LM, Shi JJ, Ding LL (2006c) Soil seed banks of degraded alpine grassland in headwater region of the Yellow river: quantities and dynamics of seed germination. Chin J Appl Environ Biol 12:313–317 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  47. Shang ZH, Ding LM, Long RJ, Ma YS (2007) Relationship between soil microorganisms, above-ground vegetation, and soil environment of degraded alpine meadows in the headwater areas of the Yangtze and Yellow rivers, Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Acta Pratacul Sinica 16:34–40 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  48. Shang ZH, Long RJ, Ma YS, Ding LM (2008a) Spatial heterogeneity and similarity of adult plants and seedlings in ‘black soil land’ secondary weed community, Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. J Plant Ecol 32:1157–1165 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  49. Shang ZH, Ma YS, Long RJ, Ding LM (2008b) Effect of fencing, artificial-seeding and abandonment on vegetation composition and dynamics of ‘black soil land’ in the headwaters of the Yangtze and the Yellow Rivers (HAYYR) of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Land Degrad Dev 19:554–563CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Shang ZH, Tang Y, Long RJ (2011) Allelopathic effect of Aconitum pendulum (Ranunculaceae) on seed germination and seedlings of five native grass species in the Tibetan plateau. Nordic J Botany 29:488–494CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Squires VR, Lu XS, Lu Q, Wang T, Yang YL (2009) Rangeland degradation and recovery in China’s pastoral lands. CABI, UKGoogle Scholar
  52. Standish RJ, Robertson AW, Williams PA (2001) The impact of an invasive weed Tradescantia fluminensis on native forest regeneration. J Appl Ecol 38:1253–1263CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Urbanska KH, Fattorini M (2000) Seed rain in high-altitude restoration plots in Switzerland. Restor Ecol 8:74–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Urbanska KM, Erdt S, Fattorini M (1998) Seed rain in natural grassland and adjacent ski run in the Swiss Alps: a preliminary report. Restor Ecol 6:159–165CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Wang SJ, Liu QM, Zhang DF (2004) Karst rocky desertification in southwestern China: geomorphology, landuse, impact and rehabilitation. Land Degrad Dev 5:115–121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Wang WY, Wang QJ, Wang HC (2006) The effect of land management on plant community composition, species diversity, and productivity of Alpine Kobersia steppe meadow. Ecol Res 21:181–187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Wang CT, Cao GM, Wang QL, Jing ZC, Ding LM, Long RJ (2008) Changes in plant biomass and species composition of alpine Kobresia meadows along altitudinal gradient on the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau. Sci China Ser C-Life Sci 51:86–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Wang CT, Long RJ, Wang QL, Jing ZC, Shi JJ (2009) Changes in plant diversity, biomass and soil C, in alpine meadows at different degradation stages in the headwater region of three rivers, China. Land Degrad Dev 20:187–198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Wang MP, Zhao CZ, Long RJ, Yang YH (2010) Rangeland governance in China: overview, impacts on Sunan county in Gansu province and future options. Rangeland J 32:155–163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Webster TM, John CJ, White AD (2003) Weed seed rain, soil seedbanks, and seedling recruitment in no-tillage crop rotations. Weed Sci 51:569–575CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Xie GD, Lu CX, Xiao Y, Zheng D (2003) The economic evaluation of grassland ecosystem services in Qinghai-Tibet plateau. J MT Sci 21:50–55 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  62. Zhang JT (2006) Grassland degradation and our strategies: a case from Shanxi province, China. Rangelands 28:37–43Google Scholar
  63. Zhao YZ, Zou XY, Cheng H, Jia HK, Wu YQ, Wang GY, Zhang CL, Gao SY (2006) Assessing the ecological security of the Tibetan plateau: methodology and a case study for Lhaze county. J Environ Manage 80:120–131PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Zhao BY, Liu ZY, Lu H, Wang ZX, Sun XP, Guo X, Zhao YT, Wang JJ, Shi ZC (2010) Damage and control of poisonous weeds in western grassland of China. Agr Sci in China. 9:1512–1521CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Zhou XM (2001) Chinese Kobresia meadow. China Science Press. Beijing, pp 39–50Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Botanical Society of Japan and Springer 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Centre for Tibetan Plateau Ecosystem Management, State Key Laboratory of Grassland Farming Systems, College of Pastoral Agriculture Science and TechnologyLanzhou UniversityLanzhouChina
  2. 2.Institute of Tibetan Plateau ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Institute of Grassland ScienceQinghai Academy of Animal and Veterinary ScienceXiningChina

Personalised recommendations