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Community Ecology

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 157–168 | Cite as

Succession of plant community composition and leaf functional traits in responding to karst rocky desertification in the Wushan County in Chongqing, China

  • D. Qi
  • X. WienekeEmail author
  • X. Zhou
  • X. Jiang
  • P. Xue
Open Access
Article
  • 8 Downloads

Abstract

Karst rocky desertification (KRD) is a process of soil desertification, which leads to the decline of soil quality and biomass. We conducted a plant community survey in KRD areas in Chongqing, China. Our aims were to determine key soil properties that shape plant communities and to identify essential leaf functional traits (LFTs) in responding to the progression of KRD. The vegetation survey was carried in a total of twenty study sites (five replicates for four stages of KRD) in the Wushan County in Chongqing, China. Leaves were collected from all the species in every site and measured/calculated for five LFTs, namely, specific leaf area, leaf area, leaf thickness, leaf tissue density, and leaf dry matter content. Soil samples were collected in triplicates in each site to measure soil properties. We found that the overall richness and diversity of community decreased along with the progression of KRD. Phanerophytes predominated in all the KRD areas. Soil pH was the main determinant of vegetation structure. Leaves with lower area yet higher density had the optimal adaptability in KRD regions, which can be planted as pioneer vegetation to restore land in KRD regions.

Keywords

Karst rocky desertification Leaf functional traits Plant-soil relationship Raunkiaer’s life-form Soil properties Vegetation 

Abbreviations

NKRD

No KRD

LKRD

Latent KRD

MKRD

Moderate KRD

SKRD

Severe KRD

SLA

Specific Leaf Area

LA

Leaf Area

LT

Leaf Thickness

LTD

Leaf Tissue Density

LDMC

Leaf Dry Matter Content

IV

Importance Value

RD

Relative Density

RC

Relative Cover

RF

Relative Frequency

SOM

Soil Organic Matter

SFMC

Soil Field Moisture Capacity

SCMC

Soil Capillary Moisture Capacity

SBD

Soil Bulk Density

SP

Soil Porosity

SWC

Soil Water Content

ANOVA

Analyses of Variance

LSD

Least Significant Difference

Db

RDA–Distance-Based Redundancy Analysis

Lefse

LDA Effect Size

Supplementary material

42974_2017_1802157_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (78 kb)
Supplementary material, approximately 80 KB.

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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest 2017

Open Access. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited, you give a link to the Creative Commons License, and indicate if changes were made.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key laboratory of Eco-environments in the Three Gorges Reservoir Region (Ministry of Education), Chongqing Key Laboratory of Plant Ecology and Resources Research in Three Gorges Reservoir Region, School of Life SciencesSouthwest UniversityChongqingP. R. China
  2. 2.Animal Science DepartmentOklahoma State UniversityStillwaterUSA
  3. 3.The Forestry Academy of ChongqingChongqingP. R. China

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