Phytomass and Plant Functional Diversity in Early Restoration of the Degraded, Semi-arid Grasslands in Northern China

Chu, Y., W.-M. He, H.-D. Liu, J. Liu, X.-W. Zhu and M. Dong

Publication Date:

We analysed vegetation data recorded in the degraded lowland grasslands in Otindag Sandland during the first 4-years of restoration (2001–2004) to investigate: (1) the contribution of individual plant functional type (PFT) to PFT diversity of community and (2) the relationships between primary productivity and biodiversity both at species and PFT levels. Sixteen PFTs were distinguished based on the following traits: (1) life-span (annual vs. perennial); (2) photosynthetic pathway (C3 vs. C4); (3) reproductive mode (clonal vs. non-clonal); and (4) growth form (grass vs. forb). Analysis of data indicates that density, coverage, number of species, phytomass, and relative importance of PFTs depended strongly on life-span, photosynthetic pathway, reproductive mode and growth form. Phytomass was significantly correlated with PFT diversity, but not species diversity. However, the relationship between phytomass and PFT diversity varied greatly with year, with a positive relationship in 2001 and 2004 and a negative one in 2002 and 2003. As the restoration proceeds, the perennial C3 clonal grass became the greatest contributor to PFT diversity.

Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed Article

Journal of Arid Environments