Plant and Soil

, Volume 300, Issue 1–2, pp 221–231 | Cite as

Changes in soil and vegetation following stabilisation of dunes in the southeastern fringe of the Tengger Desert, China

Regular Article

Abstract

Properties of the soil and sand-binding vegetation were measured at five sites plus a control on dunes of the Tengger Desert stabilized for periods of up to 50 years. In the topsoil, fine particles, total N, P, K and organic matter increased significantly with increasing site age. However, there were no significant changes in deeper soil profiles (>0.4 m depth). Soil pH, calcium carbonate content, and total salt content tended to increase with age. Soil water in the topsoil changed little with increasing age, but was closely related to rainfall during the 50-year period. For deeper soil layers (0.4–3.0 m) soil water decreased significantly with age. After revegetation, the number of herbaceous species increased up to 30 years and then levelled off to 12–14 species, whereas the number of shrub species decreased from the 10 initial sand-binding species to only 3 species. Shrub cover decreased from a highest average of about 33% to the current 9%, whereas cover and biomass of herbaceous species increased throughout succession from 1956 to 2006. The development of soil and cryptogamic crusts on the surface of stabilized dunes enhanced the colonization and establishment of herbaceous plants due to increasing water availability, clay and silt content and soil nutrients. We propose that changes in properties of the surface soil led to increased interception of water, favoring shallow rooted grasses and forbs over perennial shrubs.

Keywords

Long-term effects Sand-binding vegetation Soil resources Stabilized dunes Succession Tengger Desert 

References

  1. Agriculture Chemistry Council, Soil Science Society of China (1983) General analysis methods of soil agriculture chemistry. Science Press, BeijingGoogle Scholar
  2. Aguiar MR, Sala OE (1999) Patch structure, dynamics and implications for the functioning of arid ecosystems. Trends Ecol Evol 14:273–277PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bohn HL, McNeal BL, O’Connor GA (2001) Soil Chemistry, 3rd edn. Wiley, New York, pp 155–171Google Scholar
  4. Buckley RC, Chen W, Liu Y, Zhu Z (1986) Characteristics of the Tengger dunefield, north-central China and comparisons with the central Australian dunefields. J Arid Environ 10:97–101Google Scholar
  5. Carpenter DE, Barbour MG, Bahre CJ (1986) Old field succession in Mojave desert scrub. Madrono 33:111–122Google Scholar
  6. Danin A, Bar-or Y, Dor I, Yisraeli T (1989) The role of cyanobacteria in stabilization of sand dunes in Southern Israel. Ecol Medit XV (1/2):55–64Google Scholar
  7. Dale V, Adams WM (2003) Plant reestablishment 15 years after the debris avalanche at Mount St. Helens, Washington. Sci Total Environ 313:101–113PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dodd MB, Lauenroth WK (1997) The influence of soil texture on the soil water dynamics and vegetation structure of a shortgrass steppe ecosystem. Plant Ecol 133:13–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dodd MB, Lauenroth WK, Burke IC, Chapman PL (2002) Association between vegetation patterns and soil texture in the shortgrass steppe. Plant Ecol 158:127–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Drees LR (1993) Characteristics of aeolian dusts in Niger, West Africa. Geoderma 59:213–233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ejrnes R, Hansen DN, Aude E (2003) Changing course of secondary succession in abandoned sandy field. Biol Conserv 109:343–350CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. El-Demerdash MA, Hegazy AK, Zilay AM (1995) Vegetation-soil relationship in Tihamah coastal plains of Jazan region, Saudi Arabia. J Arid Environ 30:161–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. EI-Sheikh MA (2005) Plant succession on abandoned fields after 25 years of shifting cultivation in Assuit, Egypt. J Arid Environ 61:461–481CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. FAO/UNESCO (1974) Soil map of the world 1:5,000,000, vol 1, legend. UNESCO, ParisGoogle Scholar
  15. Fisher FM, Zak JC, Cunningham GL, Whitford WG (1988) Water and nitrogen effects on growth and allocation patterns of creosote bush in the northern Chihuahuan Desert. J Range Manage 41:387–391Google Scholar
  16. Fullen MA, Mitchell DJ (1994) Desertification and reclamation in north-central China. Ambio 23:131–135Google Scholar
  17. Gardner CMK, Robinson D, Blyth K, Cooper JD (2001) Soil water content. In: Smith KA, Mullins CE (eds) Soil and environmental analysis: physical methods, 2nd edn. Dekker, New York, pp 1–64Google Scholar
  18. Harmer R, Peterken G, Kerr G, Poulton P (2001) Vegetation changes during 100 years of development of two secondary woodlands on abandoned arable land. Biol Conserv 101:291–304CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Havstad KM, Herrick JE, Schlesinger WH (2000) Desert rangelands, degradation and nutrients. In: Arnalds O, Archer S (eds) Rangeland desertification. Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp 77–87Google Scholar
  20. Knudsen D, Peterson GA, Pratt PF (1982) Lithium, sodium and potassium. In: Page AL, Miller RH, Keeney DR (eds) Methods of soil analysis part 2: chemical and microbiologicaI properties, 2nd edn. American Society of Agronomy, Soil Science Society of America, Madison, WI, pp 225–246Google Scholar
  21. Li XR, Zhang JG, Wang XP, Liu LC (2000) Study on soil microbiotic crust and its influences on sand-fixing vegetation in arid desert region. Acta Bot Sin 42:965–970Google Scholar
  22. Li XR, Zhou HY, Wang XP, Zhu YG, O’Conner PJ (2003) The effects of re-vegetation on cryptogam species diversity in Tengger Desert, Northern China. Plant Soil 251:237–245CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Li XR, Zhang ZS, Zhang JG, Wang XP, Hong JX (2004a) Association between vegetation patterns and soil properties in the southeastern Tengger Desert, China. Arid Land Res Manage 18:369–383CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Li XR, Ma FY, Xiao HL, Wang XP, Kim KC (2004b) Long-term effects of re-vegetation on soil water content of sand dunes in arid region of northern China. J Arid Environ 57:1–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Li XR, He MZ, Duan ZH, Xiao HL, Jia XH (2007) Recovery of topsoil physiochemical properties in revegetated sites in the sand-burial ecosystems of the Tengger Desert, northern China. Geomorph 88:254–265CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Miki T, Kondoh M (2002) Feedbacks between nutrient cycling and vegetation predict plant species coexistence and invasion. Ecol Lett 5:624–633CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Moorhead DL, Fisher FM, Whitford WG (1988) Cover of spring annuals on nitrogen rich kangaroo rat mounds in a Chihuahuan Desert grassland. Am Midl Nat 120:443–447CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Nanjing Institute of Soil Research, CAS (1980) Analysis of soil physicochemical features. Shanghai Science and Technology Press, Shanghai, (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  29. Noy-Meir I (1985) Desert ecosystem structure and function. In: Evenari M (ed) Hot deserts and arid shrublands. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 93–103Google Scholar
  30. Olsen SR, Sommers LE (1982) Phosphorus. In: Page AL, Miller RH, Keeney DR (eds) Methods of soil analysis part 2: chemical and microbiologicaI properties, 2nd edn. American Society of Agronomy, Soil Science Society of America, Madison, WI, pp 403–430Google Scholar
  31. Oztas T, Koc A, Comakli B (2003) Changes in vegetation and soil properties along a slope on overgrazed and eroded rangelands. J Arid Environ 55:93–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Powlson DS, Smith P, Coleman K, Smith JU, Glendining MJ, Korschens M, Franko U (1998) A European network of long-term sites for studies on soil organic matter. Soil Till Res 47:263–274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Schlesinger WH, Aikes JAR, Hartley AE, Cross AF (1996) On the spatial pattern of soil nutrients in desert ecosystems. Ecology 77:364–374CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Shapotou Desert Research and Experiment Station, CAS (1980) Study on shifting sand control in Shapotou region of Tengger Desert (1). Ningxia People’s Publishing House, Yingchuan, pp 1–15, (in Chinese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  35. Shapotou Desert Research and Experiment Station, CAS (1991) Study on shifting sand control in Shapotou region of Tengger Desert (2). Ningxia People’s Publishing House, Yingchuan, pp 101–106, (in Chinese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  36. Singh KP, Mandal TN, Tripathi SK (2001) Pattern of restoration of soil physicochemical properties and microbial biomass in different landslide sites in the sal forest ecosystem of Nepal Himalaya. Ecol Eng 17:385–401CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Smith SD, Monson RK, Anderson JE (1997) Physiological ecology of north American desert plants. Springer, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  38. Sparling G, Ross D, Trustrum N, Arnold G, West A, Speir T, Schipper L (2003) Recovery of topsoil characteristics after landslide erosion in dry hill country of New Zealand, and a test of the space-for-time hypothesis. Soil Biol Biochem 35:1575–1586CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. US Soil Conservation Service (1974) Soil Taxonomy. WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  40. Warren J, Christal A, Wilson F (2002) Effects of snowing and management on vegetation succession during grassland habitat restoration. Agric Ecosyst Environ 93:393–402CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Webb RH, Steiger JW, Newman EB (1988) The response of vegetation to disturbance in Death Valley National Monument, California. US Geological Survey Bulletin 1793. US Department of the Interior, US Geological Survey, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  42. Whitford WG (1986) Pattern and process in desert ecosystems. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, NMGoogle Scholar
  43. Whitford WG (2002) Ecology of desert ecosystems. Academic, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  44. Xun Y, Li QK (1987) Soil in China, 2nd edn. Science Press, Beijing, (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  45. Zhang JG, Li XR, Wang XP, Wang G (2004) Ecological adaptation strategies of annual plants in artificial vegetation-stabilized sand dune in Shapotou region. Sci Chin Ser D 47(supp. 1):50–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Zou B, Cong Z, Liu S (1981) A preliminary observation on the basic character of sand-carrying currents and the effects of adopted prevention and control measurement at Shapotou. J Desert Res 1:33–39Google Scholar
  47. Zhu Z, Liu S, Di X (1992) Desertification and rehabilitation in China. Lanzhou: the international centre for education and research on desertification control. Science Press, BeijingGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • X. R. Li
    • 1
  • D. S. Kong
    • 1
  • H. J. Tan
    • 1
  • X. P. Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.Shapotou Desert Research and Experimental Station, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research InstituteChinese Academy of SciencesLanzhouChina

Personalised recommendations