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Vegetation succession of abandoned croplands in Ruanliang and Yingliang in the Ordos Plateau
- Cai, Wentao, Guan, Tianyu, Li, Heyi, Lai, Liming, Zhang, Xiaolong, Zhou, Jihua, Jiang, Lianhe, Zheng, Yuanrun
- Acta ecologica Sinica 2018 v.38 no.1 pp. 21-28
- Artemisia frigida, Stipa bungeana, arid lands, biomass, cropland, ecological succession, grasses, grasslands, perennials, plant litter, shrubs, soil depth, weeds, China
- Shrub encroachment has been a key phenomenon in arid and semi-arid grasslands over the last century. However, little research has been dedicated to vegetation dynamics in the abandoned croplands, which are surrounded by shrub-encroached grasslands. In this study, several abandoned croplands in Ruanliang and Yingliang in the Ordos Plateau were selected, and the biomass, coverage, density, root pattern, and plant litter dynamics were studied. The results showed that: (1) The abandoned croplands in Ruanliang experienced three community types, including weeds community, the subshrub Artemisia ordosica community, and the perennial grass community, while the abandoned croplands in Yingliang experienced three community types, including weeds community, perennial Stipa bungeana with Artemisia frigida community, and S. bungeana community. (2) The important value for the annual or biennial grass in abandoned croplands in Ruanliang declined during the restoration process, for the perennial grass it increased, and for the subshrub it first increased and then went down to zero. In Yingliang abandoned croplands, however, the perennial grass remained dominant during the succession process. (3) The root of A. ordosica in Ruanliang abandoned croplands was mainly distributed in soil depths of 0–30 cm; the root of the perennial grass was mainly in the 0–20 cm range, and S. bungeana was found at soil depths of 0–5 cm. To restore to a natural vegetation state, about 20 years would be needed to recover the total biomass, and 10 years would be needed to restore the vegetation coverage in Ruanliang abandoned croplands. For Yingliang abandoned croplands, about 15 and 20 years would be needed to restore the total biomass and vegetation coverage, respectively, to a state of natural vegetation.