MA Hongyuan, LI Jingpeng, YANG Fan, LÜ Xiaotao, PAN Yuepeng, LIANG Zhengwei. Regenerative Role of Soil Seed Banks of Different Successional Stages in A Saline-alkaline Grassland in Northeast China[J]. Chinese Geographical Science, 2018, 28(4): 694-706. doi: 10.1007/s11769-018-0966-2
Citation: MA Hongyuan, LI Jingpeng, YANG Fan, LÜ Xiaotao, PAN Yuepeng, LIANG Zhengwei. Regenerative Role of Soil Seed Banks of Different Successional Stages in A Saline-alkaline Grassland in Northeast China[J]. Chinese Geographical Science, 2018, 28(4): 694-706. doi: 10.1007/s11769-018-0966-2

Regenerative Role of Soil Seed Banks of Different Successional Stages in A Saline-alkaline Grassland in Northeast China

doi: 10.1007/s11769-018-0966-2
Funds:  Under the auspices of National Basic Research Program of China (No. 2015CB150802), National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41371260, 41771058), National Key Research & Development Program of China (No. 2016YFC0501200), National Key Basic Survey of Resources (No. 2015FY110500)
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  • Corresponding author: MA Hongyuan.E-mail:mahongyuan@iga.ac.cn
  • Received Date: 2017-10-09
  • Rev Recd Date: 2017-12-18
  • Publish Date: 2018-08-27
  • Soil seed banks can act as a potential seed source for natural revegetation and restoration. However, in a saline-alkaline grassland, it remains unclear how the stages of vegetation succession affect the characteristics of soil seed banks and the potential of soil seed banks of different successional stages for vegetation restoration. In this study, seasonal changes of the soil seed bank, and seed production and dispersal dynamics along degradation successional gradients were investigated in a saline-alkaline grassland in Northeast China, where the dominant grass during the 1960s, Leymus chinensis was replaced with the secondary successional order of Puccinellia chinampoensis, Chloris virgata, and Suaeda salsa, together with bare patches. It was found that the soil seed bank composition varied according to the changing vegetation and had the highest species richness (7-16) in the climax successional stage, but had a low Sørensen similarity (0.22-0.37) with the aboveground vegetation. There was a high seed density of the soil seed bank (21 062-62 166/m2 in August and December) and also high Sørensen similarity index values (0.47-0.60) in the secondary successional stages of P. chinampoensis, C. virgata, and S. salsa. In bare patches, there were many seeds in the soil seed bank and some seedlings also appeared in the aboveground vegetation, indicating the existence of a persistent soil seed bank. Seed density and species richness differed substantially among the different successional stages, which was related to the reproductive characteristics of the standing plants in vegetation communities. Due to the lack of propagules of perennial species, especially the climax species of L. chinensis, in the soil, the successful restoration of the degraded saline-alkaline grassland was not possible. The study proved that in a degraded saline-alkaline grassland dominated by biennial or annual species, the soil seed bank was important for the revegetation of the current dominant plants, but not for the restoration of the original target species. Therefore, it is necessary to induce seeds or other propagules of the target perennial species.
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Regenerative Role of Soil Seed Banks of Different Successional Stages in A Saline-alkaline Grassland in Northeast China

doi: 10.1007/s11769-018-0966-2
Funds:  Under the auspices of National Basic Research Program of China (No. 2015CB150802), National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41371260, 41771058), National Key Research & Development Program of China (No. 2016YFC0501200), National Key Basic Survey of Resources (No. 2015FY110500)
    Corresponding author: MA Hongyuan.E-mail:mahongyuan@iga.ac.cn

Abstract: Soil seed banks can act as a potential seed source for natural revegetation and restoration. However, in a saline-alkaline grassland, it remains unclear how the stages of vegetation succession affect the characteristics of soil seed banks and the potential of soil seed banks of different successional stages for vegetation restoration. In this study, seasonal changes of the soil seed bank, and seed production and dispersal dynamics along degradation successional gradients were investigated in a saline-alkaline grassland in Northeast China, where the dominant grass during the 1960s, Leymus chinensis was replaced with the secondary successional order of Puccinellia chinampoensis, Chloris virgata, and Suaeda salsa, together with bare patches. It was found that the soil seed bank composition varied according to the changing vegetation and had the highest species richness (7-16) in the climax successional stage, but had a low Sørensen similarity (0.22-0.37) with the aboveground vegetation. There was a high seed density of the soil seed bank (21 062-62 166/m2 in August and December) and also high Sørensen similarity index values (0.47-0.60) in the secondary successional stages of P. chinampoensis, C. virgata, and S. salsa. In bare patches, there were many seeds in the soil seed bank and some seedlings also appeared in the aboveground vegetation, indicating the existence of a persistent soil seed bank. Seed density and species richness differed substantially among the different successional stages, which was related to the reproductive characteristics of the standing plants in vegetation communities. Due to the lack of propagules of perennial species, especially the climax species of L. chinensis, in the soil, the successful restoration of the degraded saline-alkaline grassland was not possible. The study proved that in a degraded saline-alkaline grassland dominated by biennial or annual species, the soil seed bank was important for the revegetation of the current dominant plants, but not for the restoration of the original target species. Therefore, it is necessary to induce seeds or other propagules of the target perennial species.

MA Hongyuan, LI Jingpeng, YANG Fan, LÜ Xiaotao, PAN Yuepeng, LIANG Zhengwei. Regenerative Role of Soil Seed Banks of Different Successional Stages in A Saline-alkaline Grassland in Northeast China[J]. Chinese Geographical Science, 2018, 28(4): 694-706. doi: 10.1007/s11769-018-0966-2
Citation: MA Hongyuan, LI Jingpeng, YANG Fan, LÜ Xiaotao, PAN Yuepeng, LIANG Zhengwei. Regenerative Role of Soil Seed Banks of Different Successional Stages in A Saline-alkaline Grassland in Northeast China[J]. Chinese Geographical Science, 2018, 28(4): 694-706. doi: 10.1007/s11769-018-0966-2
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