Can the study of natural vegetation succession assist in the control of soil erosion on abandoned croplands on the Loess Plateau, China?

Jiao, Juying and Tzanopoulos, Joseph and Xofis, Panteleimon and Bai, Wenjuan and Ma, Xianghua and Mitchley, Jonathan (2007) Can the study of natural vegetation succession assist in the control of soil erosion on abandoned croplands on the Loess Plateau, China? Restoration Ecology, 15 (3). pp. 391-399. ISSN 1061-2971. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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In the Loess Plateau, China, arable cultivation of slope lands is common and associated with serious soil erosion. Planting trees or grass may control erosion, but planted species may consume more soil water and can threaten long-term ecosystem sustainability. Natural vegetation succession is an alternative ecological solution to restore degraded land, but there is a time cost, given that the establishment of natural vegetation, adequate to prevent soil erosion, is a longer process than planting. The aims of this study were to identify the environmental factors controlling the type of vegetation established on abandoned cropland and to identify candidate species that might be sown soon after abandonment to accelerate vegetation succession and establishment of natural vegetation to prevent soil erosion. A field survey of thirty-three 2 x 2-m plots was carried out in July 2003, recording age since abandonment, vegetation cover, and frequency of species together with major environmental and soil variables. Data were analyzed using correspondence analysis, classification tree analysis, and species response curves. Four vegetation types were identified and the data analysis confirmed the importance of time since abandonment, total P, and soil water in controlling the type of vegetation established. Among the dominant species in the three late-successional vegetation types, the most appropriate candidates for accelerating and directing vegetation succession were King Ranch bluestem (Bothriochloa ischaemum) and Lespedeza davurica (Leguminosae). These species possess combinations of the following characteristics: tolerance of low water and nutrient availability, fibrous root system and strong lateral vegetative spread, and a persistent seed bank.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: bothriochloa ischaemum, classification tree analysis, Lespedeza davurica, species response curves, TWINSPAN
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH541 Ecology
S Agriculture
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Depositing User: Joseph Tzanopoulos
Date Deposited: 10 Oct 2012 22:06
Last Modified: 07 May 2014 14:36
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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