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Density affects plant size in the Gobi Desert

Li, Yonghua ; Xin, Zhiming ; Yao, Bin ; Duan, Ruibing ; Dong, Xue ; Bao, Yanfeng ; Li, Xinle ; Ma, Yuan ; Huang, Yaru and Luo, Fengmin , et al. (2024) In Science of the Total Environment 912.
Abstract

Plant size is a crucial functional trait with substantial implications in agronomy and forestry. Understanding the factors influencing plant size is essential for ecosystem management and restoration efforts. Various environmental factors and plant density play significant roles in plant size. However, how plant size responds to mean annual precipitation (MAP), mean annual temperature (MAT), and density in the arid areas remains incomplete. To address this knowledge gap, we conducted comprehensive vegetation surveys in the Gobi Desert in northwestern China with a MAP below 250 mm. We also collected climate data to disentangle the respective influences of climate and density on the community-weighted plant height, crown length, and crown... (More)

Plant size is a crucial functional trait with substantial implications in agronomy and forestry. Understanding the factors influencing plant size is essential for ecosystem management and restoration efforts. Various environmental factors and plant density play significant roles in plant size. However, how plant size responds to mean annual precipitation (MAP), mean annual temperature (MAT), and density in the arid areas remains incomplete. To address this knowledge gap, we conducted comprehensive vegetation surveys in the Gobi Desert in northwestern China with a MAP below 250 mm. We also collected climate data to disentangle the respective influences of climate and density on the community-weighted plant height, crown length, and crown width. Our observations revealed that the community-weighted mean plant height, crown length, and width demonstrated a positive association with MAT but negative relationships with both MAP and density. These patterns can be attributed to the predominance of shrubs over herbs in arid regions, as shrubs tend to be larger in size. The proportion of shrubs increases with MAT, while it decreases with MAP and density, resulting in higher plant height and larger crown dimensions. Although both MAP and MAT affect plant size in the Gobi Desert, our findings highlight the stronger role of plant density in regulating plant size, indicating that the surrounding plant community and competition among individuals are crucial drivers of plant size patterns. Our findings provide valuable guidance for nature-based solutions for vegetation restoration and ecosystem management, highlighting the importance of considering plant density as a key factor when designing and implementing restoration strategies in arid areas.

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organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Crown length, Crown width, Mean annual precipitation, Mean annual temperature, Plant density, Plant height
in
Science of the Total Environment
volume
912
article number
169401
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • pmid:38114032
  • scopus:85181584605
ISSN
0048-9697
DOI
10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.169401
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
2b6a3961-1904-4f5d-baee-bcc2980351b7
date added to LUP
2024-02-09 15:18:46
date last changed
2024-04-09 13:15:51
@article{2b6a3961-1904-4f5d-baee-bcc2980351b7,
  abstract     = {{<p>Plant size is a crucial functional trait with substantial implications in agronomy and forestry. Understanding the factors influencing plant size is essential for ecosystem management and restoration efforts. Various environmental factors and plant density play significant roles in plant size. However, how plant size responds to mean annual precipitation (MAP), mean annual temperature (MAT), and density in the arid areas remains incomplete. To address this knowledge gap, we conducted comprehensive vegetation surveys in the Gobi Desert in northwestern China with a MAP below 250 mm. We also collected climate data to disentangle the respective influences of climate and density on the community-weighted plant height, crown length, and crown width. Our observations revealed that the community-weighted mean plant height, crown length, and width demonstrated a positive association with MAT but negative relationships with both MAP and density. These patterns can be attributed to the predominance of shrubs over herbs in arid regions, as shrubs tend to be larger in size. The proportion of shrubs increases with MAT, while it decreases with MAP and density, resulting in higher plant height and larger crown dimensions. Although both MAP and MAT affect plant size in the Gobi Desert, our findings highlight the stronger role of plant density in regulating plant size, indicating that the surrounding plant community and competition among individuals are crucial drivers of plant size patterns. Our findings provide valuable guidance for nature-based solutions for vegetation restoration and ecosystem management, highlighting the importance of considering plant density as a key factor when designing and implementing restoration strategies in arid areas.</p>}},
  author       = {{Li, Yonghua and Xin, Zhiming and Yao, Bin and Duan, Ruibing and Dong, Xue and Bao, Yanfeng and Li, Xinle and Ma, Yuan and Huang, Yaru and Luo, Fengmin and Li, Xing and Wei, Xu and Jiang, Zi Ru and Lozada-Gobilard, Sissi and Zhu, Jinlei}},
  issn         = {{0048-9697}},
  keywords     = {{Crown length; Crown width; Mean annual precipitation; Mean annual temperature; Plant density; Plant height}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  publisher    = {{Elsevier}},
  series       = {{Science of the Total Environment}},
  title        = {{Density affects plant size in the Gobi Desert}},
  url          = {{http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.169401}},
  doi          = {{10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.169401}},
  volume       = {{912}},
  year         = {{2024}},
}