Contribution of different bud types to community regeneration on a typical steppe under various enclosure durations in Inner Mongolia, China

J Qian, Z Wang, Z Liu, W Kuang, CA Buss

Abstract


Understanding the changes in the total bud bank, and its contribution to community regeneration, in response to grassland enclosure to livestock grazing, is crucial for grassland management. Despite its importance, the contribution of the total bud bank and that of different bud types to community regeneration as a whole have been rarely explored. The vegetative offspring recruited from different bud types was investigated in grasslands having different enclosure durations to livestock grazing on a typical steppe of Inner Mongolia, China. Total vegetative offspring density was significantly higher (p<0.05) under continuous grazing than in fenced grasslands, but no significant changes were found among plots with different enclosure durations to livestock grazing. The percentage and density of tiller-ramets were significantly higher (p<0.05) under continuous grazing than in fenced grasslands. However, rhizome-ramets followed an opposite pattern (p<0.05). Bulb-ramets showed negligible differences in percentage and density among grasslands with different enclosure durations to livestock grazing and those exposed to continuous grazing. Root-derived ramets only occurred in fenced plots. Our results indicate that (1) grassland enclosure to domestic livestock reduce vegetative regeneration from belowground bud banks; (2) enclosure duration to livestock grazing showed no evident effect on the whole contribution of the belowground bud bank to vegetative regeneration, but changed the relative contribution of the different bud types, and (3) while grassland enclosure to livestock grazing reduced density of tiller-ramets, rhizome- and root-derived sapling densities were increased. Therefore, changes in the regenerative contribution of different bud types might be used to (1) predict community dynamic under disturbances and climatic changes, and (2) delineate adequate policies for grassland management and utilization.

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Phyton. International Journal of Experimental Botany. ISSN print 0031-9457 ISSN en line 1851-5657 Fundación Rómulo Raggio Gaspar Campos 861,  Vicente López, Buenos Aires, Argentina (C.P. 1638) Tel 54 11 4791-0868 / 4796-1456 revistaphyton@fund-romuloraggio.org.ar www.revistaphyton.fund-romuloraggio.org.ar