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Effects of grazing on plant species diversity and carbon partitioning in semiarid rangelands of northeastern China

Hu FL1,2, B Liu1,3, ZM Liu1,3, YT Fang1,3, CA Busso4
1 Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Science, Shenyang 110016, P R China.
2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100039, P R China.
3 State Key Laboratory of Forest and Soil Ecology, Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang 110164, P. R. China.
4 Departamento de Agronomía-CERZOS [Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET)], Universidad Nacional del Sur, 8000 Bahía Blanca, Pcia. Buenos Aires, Argentina.
* Corresponding Author:Address Correspondence to: Dr. Zhimin Liu, e-mail:

Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany 2015, 84(1), 209-221. https://doi.org/10.32604/phyton.2015.84.209

Abstract

Grasslands are one of the most widespread landscapes worldwide, covering approximately one-fifth of the world’s land surface, where grazing is a common practice. How carbon storage responds to grazing in steppes remains poorly understood. We quantified the effects of grazing on community composition and species diversity, and carbon storage in two typical grasslands of northeastern China, one in Horqin and the other one in Hulunbeier. In both grasslands, grazing did not influence plant species diversity. However, it substantially decreased aboveground carbon by 31% and 54% in Horqin and Hulunbeier, respectively. Fenced and grazing treatments showed a similar belowground carbon at both locations. The predominant carbon pool in the study grassland ecosystem was found in the upper 100 cm soil depth, from 98.2 to 99.1% of the total carbon storage. There were no significant effects of grazing on soil carbon neither in the whole profile nor in the uppermost 20 cm soil depth in the two study grasslands. Studies on the effects of varying rangeland management, such as region disparity and grazing systems, may have important consequences on species diversity and carbon partitioning, and thus on rangeland stability and ecosystem functioning.

Keywords

Species diversity, Carbon allocation, Carbon stock, Optimal partitioning, Community heterogeneity, Soil depth.

Cite This Article

FL, H., Liu, B., Liu, Z., Fang, Y., Busso, C. (2015). Effects of grazing on plant species diversity and carbon partitioning in semiarid rangelands of northeastern China. Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany, 84(1), 209–221.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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