Commenced in January 2007
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Search results for: Qinpu Luo

2 Effects of Nitrogen Addition on Litter Decomposition and Nutrient Release in a Temperate Grassland in Northern China

Authors: Lili Yang, Jirui Gong, Qinpu Luo, Min Liu, Bo Yang, Zihe Zhang


Anthropogenic activities have increased nitrogen (N) inputs to grassland ecosystems. Knowledge of the impact of N addition on litter decomposition is critical to understand ecosystem carbon cycling and their responses to global climate change. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of N addition and litter types on litter decomposition of a semi-arid temperate grassland during growing and non-growing seasons in Inner Mongolia, northern China, and to identify the relation between litter decomposition and C: N: P stoichiometry in the litter-soil continuum. Six levels of N addition were conducted: CK, N1 (0 g Nm−2 yr−1), N2 (2 g Nm−2 yr−1), N3 (5 g Nm−2 yr−1), N4 (10 g Nm−2 yr−1) and N5 (25 g Nm−2 yr−1). Litter decomposition rates and nutrient release differed greatly among N addition gradients and litter types. N addition promoted litter decomposition of S. grandis, but exhibited no significant influence on L. chinensis litter, indicating that the S. grandis litter decomposition was more sensitive to N addition than L. chinensis. The critical threshold for N addition to promote mixed litter decomposition was 10 -25g Nm−2 yr−1. N addition altered the balance of C: N: P stoichiometry between litter, soil and microbial biomass. During decomposition progress, the L. chinensis litter N: P was higher in N2-N4 plots compared to CK, while the S. grandis litter C: N was lower in N3 and N4 plots, indicating that litter N or P content doesn’t satisfy microbial decomposers with the increasing of N addition. As a result, S. grandis litter exhibited net N immobilization, while L. chinensis litter net P immobilization. Mixed litter C: N: P stoichiometry satisfied the demand of microbial decomposers, showed net mineralization during the decomposition process. With the increasing N deposition in the future, mixed litter would potentially promote C and nutrient cycling in grassland ecosystem by increasing litter decomposition and nutrient release.

Keywords: C: N: P stoichiometry, litter decomposition, nitrogen addition, nutrient release

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1 Physiological Responses of Dominant Grassland Species to Different Grazing Intensity in Inner Mongolia, China

Authors: Min Liu, Jirui Gong, Qinpu Luo, Lili Yang, Bo Yang, Zihe Zhang, Yan Pan, Zhanwei Zhai


Grazing disturbance is one of the important land-use types that affect plant growth and ecosystem processes. In order to study the responses of dominant species to grazing in the semiarid temperate grassland of Inner Mongolia, we set five grazing intensity plots: a control and four levels of grazing (light (LG), moderate (MG), heavy (HG) and extreme heavy grazing (EHG)) to test the morphological and physiological responses of Stipa grandis, Leymus chinensis at the individual levels. With the increase of grazing intensity, Stipa grandis and Leymus chinensis both exhibited reduced plant height, leaf area, stem length and aboveground biomass, showing a significant dwarf phenomenon especially in HG and EHG plots. The photosynthetic capacity decreased along the grazing gradient. Especially in the MG plot, the two dominant species have lowest net photosynthetic rate (Pn) and water use efficiency (WUE). However, in the HG and EHG plots, the two species had high light saturation point (LSP) and low light compensation point (LCP), indicating they have high light-use efficiency. They showed a stimulation of compensatory photosynthesis to the remnant leaves as compared with grasses in MG plot. For Leymus chinensis, the lipid peroxidation level did not increase with the low malondialdehyde (MDA) content even in the EHG plot. It may be due to the high enzymes activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and peroxidase (POD) to reduce the damage of reactive oxygen species. Meanwhile, more carbohydrate was stored in the leaf of Leymus chinensis to provide energy to the plant regrowth. On the contrary, Stipa grandis showed the high level of lipid peroxidation especially in the HG and EHG plots with decreased antioxidant enzymes activity. The soluble protein content did not change significantly in the different plots. Therefore, with the increase of grazing intensity, plants changed morphological and physiological traits to defend themselves effectively to herbivores. Leymus chinensis is more resistant to grazing than Stipa grandis in terms of tolerance traits, particularly under heavy grazing pressure.

Keywords: antioxidant enzymes activity, grazing density, morphological responses, photosynthesis

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