Variations of plant vegetation and spatial distribution were investigated in the areas of 4 types of typical disturbance, which had been under natural restoration for 22 years in the Karst area in northwestern Guangxi while the climax plant community was utilized as control. The slope scale and disturbance theory were used to study the plant diversity in the whole area and selected plots. It is clear that the disturbance had resulted in severe loss of plant species, and only 241 species of vascular plants that belong to 91 families and 206 genera survived in disturbed areas, accounting only for 26.6% of those in the natural reserve area. The consequent succession of 6 types of plant vegetation was sparse grass of rocky desertification, grass, shrub, liana-shrub, deciduous broad-leaved forest and mixed segment of evergreen and deciduous broad-leaved forest. The height, coverage, biomass and species diversity of plants decreased sharply with slope elevating, and the plant density appeared with normal distribution. Compared with the natural reserve area, all indices of plant vegetation in disturbed areas were much worse. Furthermore, different types of disturbance showed various affections on natural vegetative restoration, among which tilling after the whole slope was set on fire caused the worst impact and rocky desertification was the consequence, followed by depasturing after the whole slope was set on fire. Cutting was selective disturbance, and the vegetative restoration in the area with combination of cutting, grazing and setting on fire on the upper slope was relatively fast; however, it was even better in the area with combination of cutting and setting the upper slope on fire. In our studies, 4 strategies for vegetative recovery, using both natural and artificial approaches, were established, which were suitable for the Karst area in northwestern Guangxi.
The keys of studying urban sustainable development are material metabolism flux and efficiency. Metabolism flux of urban materials can only reflect the metabolism velocity, while its eco-efficiency can determine the metabolism capacity to support socio-economic development. The general model and the measure model of the eco-efficiency were set up, based on the source recycle (decreasing the consumption of crude resources) and the terminal recycle (decreasing the discharge of pollutants) of production and life. These models were employed to study material metabolism flux and efficiency in Shenzhen, China. Results showed that water, energy and waste metabolism fluxes have increased since 1998 with constant socio-economic development, and their eco-efficiencies have also increased rapidly. When GDP rose by 2.7 times, the metabolism fluxes of urban water and electricity rose by 1.5 and 3.0 times, respectively. When the added value of industry rose by 3.7 times, the metabolism fluxes of industrial water, electricity, energy and waste rose by 1.9, 3.5, 2.7 and 2.0 times, respectively. When population rose by 1.5 times, the metabolism fluxes of residential water and electricity rose by 1.8 and 1.7 times, respectively. During the period, the resource efficiency, environmental efficiency and eco-efficiency rose by 1.8, 3.7 and 2.3 times, respectively. Whereas the efficiency of material metabolism has been improved in Shenzhen, the scarcity of material resources has become more and more serious. Therefore, it is necessary to further improve the efficiency of material metabolism. The keys of improving the eco-efficiency of urban material metabolism are the increasing of resource and environmental efficiencies, and the establishing of the recycling chain of re-utilization of waste resources.
Whether vegetation reduces soil loss by reducing runoff volume or rather by changing runoff-sediment yield relationship has received little attention. Base on the observed data from monitoring stations and the published data from other research, this issue is addressed at different scales in hilly areas of the Loess Plateau, North China. At the plot scale, vegetation helps reduce soil loss not only by reducing runoff volume, but also by changing the runoff-sediment yield relationship, resulting that the sediment-reduction rate is higher than the runoff-reduction rate. At the watershed scale, gully erosion and mass wasting process are dominant. Vegetation measures are insufficient to control local mass movement, implying that sediment availability remains high even after vegetation is established. It is also hard for slope vegetation to change the capacity of the sediment transport system at the watershed scale. Therefore, vegetation cannot change the runoff-sediment yield relationship at the watershed scale. This implies that vegetation reduces sediment yield only by reducing runoff volume and the sediment-reduction rate approximates the runoff-reduction rate at the watershed scale. Other slope measures for soil conservation such as terraces are considered to have the same effect on the runoff-sediment yield relationship as the vegetation. Several case studies involving different spatial scales are presented and confirm this conclusion.
The study focused on the dynamics of Malondialdehyde (MDA) contents and the activities of protective enzymes in the leaves of alfalfa varieties with various resistances to Koch. The results showed that susceptible varieties always had higher MDA contents than resistant varieties, and the MDA contents tended to rise in both susceptible and resistant varieties in period of the varieties were pierced and sucked by aphids. Superoxide dismutase (SOD), peroxidase (POD) and phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL) activities in susceptible varieties were lower than those in resistant varieties, and in both susceptible and resistant varieties the SOD and POD activities tended to rise at first and then decline, and the PAL activities rose to their peaks and then tended to remain stable. In the susceptible and resistant varieties the catalase (CAT) activities appeared to rise and decline alternatively; the PPO activities in resistant varieties were lower than those in susceptible varieties in early growth, but higher than those in susceptible varieties in later growth. It follows that infested by aphids, susceptible and resistant varieties had the MDA contents, variations of SOD, POD, PAL and PPO activities were closely correlated with their aphid resistances, hence these indexes could be used as physiological indexes for testing aphid resistance of alfalfa, whereas the relations of their CAT activities to their resistances needed to be further studied.
To assess soil quality, a minimum dataset (MDS) of soil properties has to be proposed commonly through calculating the total load of each candidate soil parameter on all of the qualified principal components by use of principal component analysis (PCA) and Norm-value computation. Considering intensive land-use changes, the method introduced in this study on MDS establishment integrates the quantified contributions of land-use type and land-use duration on each soil parameter by using multivariate analysis and mean multiple comparison. In this way, a MDS maximally representing all candidates with minimal loss of the soil quality information contained by those non-MDS soil parameters is established. The MDS proposed can not only well integrate the quantified influence of land-use changes and land-use duration on soil parameters, but is also quite flexible and extendable with the potential to be extrapolated to assess soil quality in other regions. Based on two sets of soil database obtained separately in 1985 and 2004, two MDSs established are compared with each other. It is found that only quite a small change in MDS components occurs during a 20-year period. For a better assessment of soil quality, it seems necessary to examine on what kind of temporal scale and how much MDS will change for a site-specific area with intensive land-use changes.
Using MODIS remote sensing data and ground truth data, a thorough investigation was conducted to monitor the productivity of grasslands in China for the year 2005. The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) was first computed from the MODIS data. Then the data from the NDVI images were used to correlate with the grass yield data from the ground sampling campaigns. Six regional models were accordingly established from the correlation for estimation of grass production in the six main types of steppe in China. The main results from the estimation could be summarized as follows: (1) High grass productivity in 2005 was obtained in the following 3 regions: the grassland covering Hulunbuir, Xilinhaote, and the western Daxing'anling, the region including the eastern Qinghai, the northwestern Sichuan and the mid-southern Gansu, and the northwestern Xinjiang region. (2) Total hay output from the grasslands in China amounted to 294213.86 thousand tons in 2005 with an average yield of 829.67 kg/hm . (3) The following 7 provinces were the largest grass producers in China: Inner Mongolia, Qinghai, Xinjiang, Sichuan, Tibet, Heilongjiang and Gansu. For example, Inner Mongolia produced 60370.82 thousand tons of hay in 2005, and hence became the No. 1 grass producer of China. (4) Among the steppe types, the following 5 had the largest grass production: Alpine meadow, Temperate steppe, Low-land meadow, Temperate meadow steppe and Montane meadow with total production accounting for 62.2% in China. (5) Grass production of the entire China in August 2005 remained at the same level as that in August 2004. However, the situations of major grassland provinces were different: grass production in both Qinghai and Gansu in 2005 increased to 9.02% and 3.63%, respectively, when compared with that in 2004. The grass production in Inner Mongolia decreased by 3%, while the production in Tibet, Xinjiang and Sichuan remains unchanged when compared with that in 2004. These results were very important for grassland administration, pasture grazing and grassland ecosystem studies in China.
The eco-footprint analysis of tourism is one of the most up-to-date and effective methods used to analyze the environmental effects of tourism. This study constructs a model to calculate the ecological footprint (EF) of tourism itinerary products by using a component approach, rudimentarily exploring the calculation methods for EF which target necklace-like tourism itinerary products and base tourist trips. By applying the model to calculate and analyze an “8-day tour of Shangri-La”, a typical tourism itinerary product, results of this study suggest that: (a) Tourism is a kind of life style with tremendous ecological consumption, that is, per capita EF that tourists produce in the course of travel is more than the one that local people produce in their daily life in tourist source areas, and it also exceeds the per capita EF that local people produce in their daily life in tourist destination; (b) According to the component approach, EF of tourism itinerary products is broken down into 7 components, among which “Transport”, “Food”, “Waste” and “Accommodation” play important roles; (c) There exist significant differences in ecological efficiency between different departments of tourism; the travel and entertainment sectors maintain a relatively high ecological efficiency, while the food and lodging departments have relatively low ecological efficiency.
The ecological vulnerability of the western Hainan Island of China was assessed using a combined approach of landscape pattern and ecosystem sensitivity. Models were developed using the following five factors: reciprocal of fractal dimension ( ), isolation ( ), fragmentation ( ), sensitivity of land desertification ( ), and sensitivity of soil erosion ( ). The major findings include: (1) the vulnerability of various landscape types was in the following decreasing order: farmland > forestland > water area. This suggests that the ecosystems of farmland and forestland are unstable and sensitive to external disturbances; (2) significantly positive relationships were found between the vulnerability of landscape types ( ) and and and , and and (regional eco-environment vulnerability). This suggests that and have considerable effects on and in this case; (3) there is a good agreement between the predicted and the actual distribution of the zones. value tends to decrease with increasing distance from the coastline and increase with increasing altitude; (4) the landscape pattern and the regional ecological vulnerability in this study is predominantly controlled by human activities, although physical factors such as topography and oceanic influences also play roles in the process; and (5) the establishment of relationships between data with respect to landscape and the regional ecological responses could be beneficial in guiding the ecological construction of this region.
In order to have a basic knowledge of revegetation, one needs to deepen his understanding of the interactive effects of vegetation and soil. In this article, aboveground biomass, soil nutrients and moisture of 36 old-fields with different abandonment ages (from 2 to 45 years after abandonment), aboveground biomass of 4 typical old-fields, and growth characteristics of 7 predominant old-field species were measured. Changing pace, trend and relationship of community aboveground biomass and soil nutrition during the secondary succession were evaluated; effects of soil nutrition on community aboveground biomass were analyzed using multivariable analysis and pathway analysis, and effects of aboveground biomass on soil nutrition were further discussed. The results show that: (1) Soil nutrients, including organic matter, total nitrogen, total phosphorus, total potassium, nitrate nitrogen, ammonium nitrogen, active phosphorus and active potassium, have the same changing pace and trends as the aboveground biomass. In the process of secondary succession, both the soil nutrition and the community aboveground biomass decreased in the earlier abandonment stage of succession and then increased subsequently. (2) On the basis of the correlation of soil nutrients and abandonment ages, effects of vegetation on 0–20 cm organic matter, active phosphorus, 0–20 cm and 20–40 cm nitrate nitrogen nutrition are significant, while on the basis of the correlation of soil nutrition and aboveground biomass, no significant effects were observed. Hereinbefore, aboveground biomass accounts for only a part of vegetation-soil nutrition effects. The effects of biomass on organic matter, total nitrogen, total phosphorous, total potassium, nitrate nitrogen, active potassium and phosphorous are positive, whereas for ammonium nitrogen it is negative. (3) Abandonment ages, total nitrogen, total potassium, active potassium and soil moisture fluctuation have direct positive effects on the aboveground biomass of old-field communities; abandonment and soil moisture fluctuation have lager effects. Each ingredient of soil nutrition has relatively small effect, among which total nitrogen has larger effects than total and active potassium. The changes in aboveground biomass of old-field communities during succession are caused mainly by the changes in coverage and ecological characteristics of community species (the relatively larger direct effects of abandonment ages), and secondly by the soil moisture fluctuation (the relative smaller indirect effect of abandonment ages through soil moisture). (4) As a dependent variable, belowground biomass approaches power function of soil depth and declines in deeper layer. The root/shoot ratio of communities tends to increase in later succession stages, which also has an increasing tendency. These may influence the accumulation of biomass and decomposition of organic matter, and the vegetation-soil effects may be different.
Field performance of rice allelopathic potential is indirectly regulated by the microflora in the rhizosphere. The present study aimed to investigate the dynamics of microbial populations and their functional diversities in the seedling rhizospheres of rice cultivars with varied allelopathic activities by employing agar plate bioassay, fumigation and BIOLOG analysis. Rice cultivars significantly affected the microbial carbon content in their associated rhizospheric soil. The microbial carbon contents were ranked in a decreasing order as Iguape Cateto (441.0 mg·kg ) > IAC47 (389.7 mg·kg ) > PI312777 (333.2 mg·kg ) > Lemont (283.8 mg·kg ) with the nil-rice control soil of 129.3 mg·kg . Similarly, the respiration rate of the soils was 1.404, 1.019, 0.671 and 0.488 μgC·g · h for PI312777, Iguape Cateto, IAC47 and Lemont, respectively. The respiration rate was only 0.304 μ gC·g ·h for the control soil. The microbial flora in the rhizospheric soil of different rice cultivars was dominated by bacteria (58.4%–65.6%), followed by actinomycete (32.2%–39.4%) and fungi (2.2%–2.8%). BIOLOG analysis showed that the value of Average Well Color Development (AWCD) differed significantly among rice cultivars. It was always the highest in the rhizospheric soil of the strongly allelopathic rice cv. PI312777, and the lowest in the rhizospheric soil of the poorly allelopathic rice cv. Lemont. The AWCD value reached the maximum in all the sampled soils after 144 hours of incubation. The AWCD values from the rhizospheric soils of PI312777, IAC47, Iguape Cateto and Lemont were 1.89, 1.79, 1.60 and 1.43 times higher than that of the control soil. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) identified 3 principal component factors (PCF) in relation to carbon sources, accounting for 70.1%, 11.3% and 7.0% of the variation, respectively. 19 categories of carbon sources were significantly positively correlated to the 3 principal components. Phenolic acids, carbohydrates, amino acids and amides were significantly correlated to the principal component 1, phenolic acids, carbohydrates and fatty acids to the principal component 2, and carbohydrates and hydroxylic acids to the principal component 3. Amino acids and amides were the two main carbon sources separating the 3 principal component factors. In addition, the total microbial population in the rhizospheric soil was significantly positively correlated with AWCD, microbial biomass carbon, microbial respiration and Shannon index. There was a significantly positive correlation between the total microbial population and the inhibition rate (IR) on the root length of lettuce owing to the different allelopathic activities of the rice cultivars. These results suggest that changes in microbial population, activity and functional diversity in the rhizospheres are highly cultivar-dependent. These changes might play an important role in governing the rice allelopathic activity in the field.
Contributions of soil micro-fauna (protozoa and nematodes) to rhizosphere ecological functions and possible modes of action were reviewed. Micro-fauna in rhizosphere play an important role in release of plant available nutrients, accumulation and stabilization of soil organic carbon, hormonal effects on roots, microbial diversity and functional stability, multi-trophic interactions above ground, and bioremediation of contaminated soils. Selective grazing, active dispersal and excretion by the micro-fauna not only benefit the rhizosphere ecological functions, but also have an impact on the whole soil and above-ground community. It appears that mechanically understanding rhizosphere ecological functions would remain incomplete without considering the interactions of micro-fauna with microorganisms and roots.
is a kind of temperate sea cucumbers, known to aestivate when water temperature rises above 20°C to 24.5°C. In this study, we measured the effects of aestivation on the energy utilization (i.e., energy allocation in growth, feces discharge, respiration and excretion) of with two different body weights (134.0 g ± 3.5 g and 73.6 g ± 2.2 g) at water temperature from 10°C to 30°C with an interval of 5°C. Noticeable variation in the energy utilization of sea cucumbers was observed in this study. During the non-aestivation period, energy deposit in growth was lower and the energy loss in feces accounted for the majority of the feeding energy. Under the threshold temperature, the feeding energy reduced and the proportion of energy deposit in growth became negative. During aestivation, sea cucumbers discontinued feeding energy, resulting in weight loss. Our study suggested that the ecological implication of aestivation in this species could lead to a model of energy saving during the long-term hot period.
Smith fir ( var. ), which grows on cool aspects with elevations ranging between 3600 m and 4400 m, is a major native dominant alpine tree species in Southeast Tibet, China. The smith fir population structure, dynamics and characteristics were investigated in the timberline ecotone of the Sejila Mountain. Results indicate that the minimum crown closure (≤20%) was reached at 4320 m above sea level, where two types of alpine species exist, smith fir and blackseed savin ( ). On the warm aspects, blackseed savin is a dominant species. Forest line was formed gradually with a wider timberline ecotone. While on the cool aspects, smith fir is a dominant species. Forest line was formed clearly with a narrow timberline ecotone. Furthermore, the upper limits of the distribution of the alpine species were 4570 m and 4390 m on warm and cool aspects, respectively. The timberline ecotone widths of the two species on the warm and cool aspects were 250 m and 70 m, respectively. The optimal distribution of smith fir on the cool aspects was from 3700 m to 3800 m. The smith fir's diameter class distribution was of reversed “J” shape and its density was about 380 stem·hm , while the age structure appeared to be of pyramid-shape, suggesting an expanding population. Finally, the static life table and the survivorship curve showed that the populations had experienced severe environmental selection during their first 20 years, self-thinning between 60 to 100 years, and environmental changes related mortality at later stages. The smith fir's physiological life span was around 200 years, and its maximum age was about 400 years old.
Using the litter bag technique, the decomposition rates and their influencing factors were studied by investigating three wetland macrophytes, , and , in Sanjiang Plain, Northeast China. It was revealed that lost 28.91% of its weight lost 31.98% and lost 32.99% after 164 days. Another finding was that the amount of organic carbon in the litter of and fluctuated, but continuously decreased in that of . However, all the three types of litter released organic carbon. Nitrogen was released substantially from the litter of both and , but accumulated in the litter of . Phosphorus concentrations in all the three types of litter apparently decreased first and then slightly increased. Overall, P release was observed in all the three types of litter. The C/N and C/P ratios varied significantly in the decomposition process. The decomposition rates and nutrient content variations were simultaneously influenced by the quality of the litter as well as the environmental factors in the Sanjian Plain, but they were more strongly affected by the quality of the litter.
In this study Qiaozidong and Qiaozixi watersheds in Loess Plateau were selected as the case to investigate the effects of land use/coverage change on hydrological dynamics. The results showed that the runoff coefficient of controlled watershed reduced by about 50%, 85%, 90%, respectively, in wet, normal and dry years in comparison with that of uncontrolled watershed. The average runoff coefficient reduced by 73.6% during the period of 1995–2004 compared with that in the previous period of 1986–1994 for land use in controlled watershed. And the impacts of land use and vegetation changes on runoff were strengthened in response to the increasing rainfall. Additionally, the impacts of land use/coverage change on runoff yield are characterized by seasonal fluctuation. The maximum monthly runoff reduction in the both watersheds occurred in May, which was consistent with the period of the maximum land coverage appeared. Finally, when the rainfall intensity reached a certain threshold, the variance of flood peak in two watersheds reduced, which showed that the effects of forest on flood weakened. The flood peak discharge frequencies indicated that peak discharge would respond to the land use and vegetation change obviously on condition that there were the same frequencies of rainfall intensity in the earlier and later periods.
, an orchid genus, was reported in this paper from China as a newly recorded genus for the first time. The genus and its new species, Z. J. Liu, L. J. Chen et S. P. Lei, were described and discussed. consists of 19 species ranging from Assam of India to Indonesia and Australia in the southeast via Myanmar to Deccan of India in the southwest. Its occurrence in West Yunnan of China is a further indication of phytogeographical relations between this region and the tropical Asia. This new species grows on shady rocks in forests. By observing of its biological characteristics such as phenology and blooming biology, lots of cloned ramets of generation overlap were found, but there were no fruited plants, and that clonal reproduction could repeat had nothing to do with whether the ramet bloomed or not. The flowering season of this species is from early April to early May. The opening of flowers on plants or inflorescence was irregular and the florescence of single flowers was rather short, only lasting 4–5 d, and no fruited flowers were found. Based on the detection of mating systems, no flowers of artificial self-pollination and artificial cross-pollination have fruited. Since the flowering period is just before the rainy season in this region, the ecological conditions of dryness, strong wind, low temperature and weak light during that period of time are evidently unfavorable to plant blooming, pollinating and fruiting. Apparently, the short duration and sterility of each flower would avoid the invalid energy waste in unfavorable circumstances and save the limited energy for more valid asexual reproduction so that the opportunity of multiplication in an uncertain environment would be increased to ensure the progenitive success. The P/O value of is 187.4 ± 22.4, which is obviously related with the highly valid usage of its conglutinated and hard tuberous pollinarium during pollination, indicating that this species could hold the characteristic of sexual reproduction. This is an adaptation of this type of plants to the rather atrocious ecological circumstance there by its reproduction strategy of strengthening asexual reproduction and weakening sexual reproduction, and so it enables the plants to survive in this region, long-distanced from the places where its relatives dwell.
Effect of using plant hedgerows on controlling soil and water losses has received wide recognition and this technology has been applied in many areas in the world. Yet, studies on the effect of using plant hedgerows on soil fertility on sloping lands are rare. Carrying out an eight-year fixed field experiment, the authors investigated the effect of two different hedgerows against the control treatment on soil fertility. Results showed that clay particles tended to accumulate in front of the plant hedgerows and began to erode downward below the hedgerows along the contour lines across the field. Distribution of soil organic matter and all plant nutrients except potassium (K) showed the same pattern as the clay particles. Potassium, however, was evenly distributed in the field without any noticeable influence from the hedgerows. Since the fixed experiment started, soil phosphorus (P) kept accumulating, while soil organic matter and K were in depletion. The results accordingly suggested better nutrient management practices on the sloping lands by using properly reduced rates of P and increased rates of farm manure and K. Taking the sloping field as a whole, special attention in nutrient management should be given to the soil strips —the portions below the plant hedgerows suffering from more serious soil erosion.
Owing to unsuitable green space construction, abundant allergenic pollen plants are centralized in urban areas, producing allergenic pollen. A mass of airborne allergenic pollen could cause pollinosis to badly influence people's robustness. To provide scientific basis for reasonable green space construction, the research advances of allergenic plants were reviewed. Firstly, species composition, phenological characteristics and influential factors (which include unsuitable green land construction, urban heat island effect, traffic pollution, etc.) were summarized. Secondly, the strategies controlling allergenic pollen plants were proposed. Thirdly, some problems on allergenic plants worthy of more research, including allergenic mechanism and methodology, were also put forward.
The effects of the long-term application of inorganic fertilizers on microbial community diversity were investigated in a rice-planting soil derived from quaternary red clay in the Ecological Experimental Station of Red Soil, Chinese Academy of Sciences. After 13 years' application of different inorganic fertilizers for double rice crops, the community structure of bacteria, archaea, actinomycetes and fungi in the soil changed greatly. The similarity of the SSU rDNA DGGE patterns of these four kinds of microorganisms between the soil without rice-planting and the soil with rice-planting reached only 33% and 66%, respectively. The microbial community structure among treatments with NP, PK and NPK types of P fertilizers were more similar; the similarity of the SSU rDNA DGGE patterns of the four kinds of microorganisms under these treatments reached a high range of 75%–81%. The microbial community structure between the treatment with N and K fertilizers (NK) and the treatment without inorganic fertilization (CK) with the treatments with P fertilizers differed greatly; the similarity of the SSU rDNA DGGE patterns of the four kinds of microorganisms under these treatments reached 69%–77% and 55%–77%, respectively. The results of this study provide a scientific basis for fertilizing and utilizing soil, protecting microbial diversity, and accomplishing the sustainable development of agroecology.