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Changes in the relationship between species richness and belowground biomass among grassland types and along environmental gradients in Xinjiang, Northwest China

  • Yuling Yang
  • Minfei Li
  • Jingjing Ma
  • Junhui Cheng
  • Yunhua Liu
  • Hongtao Jia
  • Ning Li
  • Hongqi Wu
  • Zongjiu Sun
  • Yanmin Fan
  • Jiandong Sheng
  • Ping’an JiangEmail author
Article
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Abstract

The association between biodiversity and belowground biomass (BGB) remains a central debate in ecology. In this study, we compared the variations in species richness (SR) and BGB as well as their interaction in the top (0–20 cm), middle (20–50 cm) and deep (50–100 cm) soil depths among 8 grassland types (lowland meadow, temperate desert, temperate desert steppe, temperate steppe desert, temperate steppe, temperate meadow steppe, mountain meadow and alpine steppe) and along environmental gradients (elevation, energy condition (annual mean temperature (AMT) and potential evapotranspiration (PET)), and mean annual precipitation (MAP)) based on a 2011–2013 survey of 379 sites in Xinjiang, Northwest China. The SR and BGB varied among the grassland types. The alpine steppe had a medium level of SR but the highest BGB in the top soil depth, whereas the lowland meadow had the lowest SR but the highest BGB in the middle and deep soil depths. The SR and BGB in the different soil depths were tightly associated with elevation, MAP and energy condition; however, the particular forms of trends in SR and BGB depended on environmental factors and soil depths. The relationship between SR and BGB was unimodal in the top soil depth, but SR was positively related with BGB in the middle soil depth. Although elevation, MAP, energy condition and SR had significant effects on BGB, the variations in BGB in the top soil depth were mostly determined by elevation, and those in the middle and deep soil depths were mainly affected by energy condition. These findings highlight the importance of environmental factors in the regulations of SR and BGB as well as their interaction in the grasslands in Xinjiang.

Keywords

species richness belowground biomass unimodal pattern energy condition soil depths mean annual precipitation grasslands in Xinjiang 

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Notes

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (U1603235, 31660127) and the Tianshan Innovation Team Plan of Xinjiang (2017D14009).

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Copyright information

© Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Science Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yuling Yang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Minfei Li
    • 1
  • Jingjing Ma
    • 1
  • Junhui Cheng
    • 1
  • Yunhua Liu
    • 1
  • Hongtao Jia
    • 1
  • Ning Li
    • 1
  • Hongqi Wu
    • 1
  • Zongjiu Sun
    • 1
  • Yanmin Fan
    • 1
  • Jiandong Sheng
    • 1
  • Ping’an Jiang
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Xinjiang Key Laboratory of Soil and Plant Ecological Processes, College of Grassland and Environmental SciencesXinjiang Agricultural UniversityUrumqiChina
  2. 2.Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and GeographyChinese Academy of SciencesUrumqiChina

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