DOI: 10.3390/biology12121479 ISSN: 2079-7737

Changes in Competitors, Stress Tolerators, and Ruderals (CSR) Ecological Strategies after the Introduction of Shrubs and Trees in Disturbed Semiarid Steppe Grasslands in Hulunbuir, Inner Mongolia

Eui-Joo Kim, Seung-Hyuk Lee, Se-Hee Kim, Jae-Hoon Park, Young-Han You
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology

To reveal the changes in the life history characteristics of grassland plants due to vegetation restoration, plant species and communities were analyzed for their competitor, stress tolerator, and ruderal (CSR) ecological strategies after the introduction of woody plants in the damaged steppe grassland and were compared with those in reference sites in Hulunbuir, Inner Mongolia. As a result, it was found that the introduction of the woody plants (Corethrodeneron fruticosum, Caragana microphylla, Populus canadensis, and Pinus sylvestris var. mongolica) into the damaged land greatly increased the plant species diversity and CSR eco-functional diversity as the succession progressed. The plant strategies of the temperate typical steppe (TTS) and woodland steppe (WS) in this Asian steppe are CSR and S/SR, respectively, which means that the plants are adapted to disturbances or stress. As the restoration time elapsed in the damaged lands exhibiting (R/CR) (Corispermum hyssopifolium), the ecological strategies were predicted to change in two ways: (1) →R/CSR (Cynanchum thesioides, Astragalus laxmannii, etc.) → CSR in places (TSS) (Galium verum var. asiaticum, Saussurea japonica, etc.) where only shrubs were introduced, and (2) → S/SR (Allium mongolicum, Ulmus pumila, etc.) → S/SR in sites (WS) (Ulmus pumila, Thalictrum squarrosum, etc.) where trees and shrubs were planted simultaneously. The results mean that the driving force that causes succession in the restoration of temperate grasslands is determined by the life-form (trees/shrubs) of the introduced woody plants. This means that for the restoration of these grasslands to be successful, it is necessary to introduce woody tree species at an early stage.

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