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  • Volume 1 Issue 4
    Research Articles
    Caroline Brophy, David J. Gibson, Peter M. Wayne, John Connolly
    2008, 1 (4): 207-215.
    Abstract ( 36 )   PDF   Save
    Aims We investigate the effect of position within a size-structured population on the reproductive allocation (RA) and flowering probability of individual plants of Sinapis arvensis. We also assess the effects of plant size and changing level of CO2 on both responses.
    Methods Sinapis arvensis L., (field mustard), an annual agricultural weed, was grown in monoculture at six densities under ambient and elevated CO2 in a study with 84 stands. Individual aboveground biomass and reproductive biomass were measured. Varying density produced a wide range of mean plant sizes across stands and size hierarchies within stands. Many (~40%) individuals had zero reproductive biomass. Employing a novel modelling approach, we analysed the joint effects of position in stand size hierarchy, plant size and CO2 on RA and flowering probability of individuals.
    Important findings We found a strong effect of position within the size hierarchy of individuals in a population: for an individual of a given size, greater size relative to neighbours substantially increased RA and flowering probability at a single harvest time. There was no other effect of plant size on RA. We found a positive effect of elevated CO2 on RA regardless of position within the size hierarchy. These observed patterns could impact doubly on the reproductive biomass (R) of small individuals. First, because RA is not affected by size, smaller plants will have smaller R than larger plants; and second, for smaller plants lower down in a population size hierarchy, their RA and hence R will be further reduced. These results suggest that size relative to neighbours may be independent of and more important than direct abiotic effects in determining RA. Further studies are required to evaluate how these observed patterns generalize to other populations in non-experimental conditions.
    Emmanuel Ngulube Chidumayo
    2008, 1 (4): 217-225.
    Abstract ( 44 )   PDF   Save
    Aims In spite of the importance of African acacias in vegetation succession and provision of goods and services, little is known about life-history variations within and among species. Much of the work done on African acacias has focused on seed predation and germination and seedling establishment, especially of Acacia tortilis, Acacia nilotica and Acacia karroo. The primary aim of the present work is to investigate differences in the demography of Acacia polyacantha and Acacia sieberiana and the relationship between life-history characteristics and population size. A secondary objective is to assess how fire, an important ecological factor in savanna vegetation, might modify the growth and demographic dynamics of the two acacias.
    Methods The study was conducted at the Makeni savanna plot in central Zambia, southern Africa. Seedling emergence from both non-scarified and scarified seeds sown at different times in the wet season and the fate and growth of seedlings and saplings were monitored over a period of 4 years. Annual growth of permanently marked sample trees in annually burnt and fire-protected blocks was recorded over a 6-year period (2002–08) in order to assess inter-specific differences and how fire modifies tree growth patterns. Censuses of natural saplings and trees were conducted periodically in sample blocks to determine recruitment into these life-history stages.
    Important findings Seedling emergence and sapling survival rates were much higher in A. sieberiana than in A. polyacantha. However, both seedling and sapling growth rates were higher in A. polyacantha than in A. sieberiana but tree growth rates were similar in the two species. Under fire protection tree growth was significantly influenced by tree size and year while under annual burning only tree size significantly affected tree growth. The dominance of A. sieberiana over A. polyacantha at the study site was attributed to higher seedling emergence rate, higher sapling survival rate and a large sapling bank that forms a reliable source of tree recruitment. The life-history stage characteristics of A. polyacantha suggest that this is an early successional species.
    Frank M. Thomas, Andrea Foetzki, Dirk Gries, Helge Bruelheide, Xiangyi Li, Fanjiang Zeng, Ximing Zhang
    2008, 1 (4): 227-235.
    Abstract ( 49 )   PDF   Save
    Aims We investigated the regulation of the water status in three predominant perennial C3 phreatophytes (Alhagi sparsifolia, Populus euphratica, Tamarix ramosissima) at typical sites of their occurrence at the southern fringe of the hyperarid Taklamakan Desert (north-west China).
    Methods In the foreland of the river oasis of Qira (Cele), we determined meteorological variables, plant biomass production, plant water potentials (Ψ L) and the water flux through the plants. We calculated the hydraulic conductance on the flow path from the soil to the leaves (k SL) and tested the effects of k SL, Ψ L and the leaf-to-air difference in the partial pressure of water vapour (Δ w) on stomatal regulation using regression analyses.
    Important findings Despite high values of plant water potential at the point of turgor loss, all plants sustained Ψ L at levels that were high enough to maintain transpiration throughout the growing season. In A. sparsifolia, stomatal resistance (r s; related to leaf area or leaf mass) was most closely correlated with k SL; whereas in P. euphratica, ~70% of the variation in r s was explained by Δ w. In T. ramosissima, leaf area-related r s was significantly correlated with Ψ L and k SL. The regulation mechanisms are in accordance with the growth patterns and the occurrence of the species in relation to their distance to the ground water.
    Shiping Chen, Guanghui Lin, Jianhui Huang, Mao He
    2008, 1 (4): 237-246.
    Abstract ( 32 )   PDF   Save
    Aims Precipitation pulses and different land use practices (such as grazing) play important roles in regulating soil respiration and carbon balance of semiarid steppe ecosystems in Inner Mongolia. However, the interactive effects of grazing and rain event magnitude on soil respiration of steppe ecosystems are still unknown. We conducted a manipulative experiment with simulated precipitation pulses in Inner Mongolia steppe to study the possible responses of soil respiration to different precipitation pulse sizes and to examine how grazing may affect the responses of soil respiration to precipitation pulses.
    Methods Six water treatments with different precipitation pulse sizes (0, 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 mm) were conducted in the ungrazed and grazed sites, respectively. Variation patterns of soil respiration of each treatment were determined continuously after the water addition treatments.
    Important findings Rapid and substantial increases in soil respiration occurred 1 day after the water treatments in both sites, and the magnitude and duration of the increase in soil respiration depended on pulse size. Significantly positive relationships between the soil respiration and soil moisture in both sites suggested that soil moisture was the most important factor responsible for soil respiration rate during rain pulse events. The ungrazed site maintained significantly higher soil moisture for a longer time, which was the reason that the soil respiration in the ungrazed site was maintained relatively higher rate and longer period than that in the grazed site after a rain event. The significant exponential relationship between soil temperature and soil respiration was found only in the plots with the high water addition treatments (50 and 100 mm). Lower capacity of soil water holding and lower temperature sensitivity of soil respiration in the grazed site indicated that degraded steppe due to grazing might release less CO2 to the atmosphere through soil respiration under future precipitation and temperature scenarios.
    Miaogen Shen, Yanhong Tang, Julia Klein, Pengcheng Zhang, Song Gu, Ayako Shimono, Jin Chen
    2008, 1 (4): 247-257.
    Abstract ( 45 )   PDF   Save
    Aims There are numerous grassland ecosystem types on the Tibetan Plateau. These include the alpine meadow and steppe and degraded alpine meadow and steppe. This study aimed at developing a method to estimate aboveground biomass (AGB) for these grasslands from hyperspectral data and to explore the feasibility of applying air/satellite-borne remote sensing techniques to AGB estimation at larger scales.
    Methods We carried out a field survey to collect hyperspectral reflectance and AGB for five major grassland ecosystems on the Tibetan Plateau and calculated seven narrow-band vegetation indices and the vegetation index based on universal pattern decomposition (VIUPD) from the spectra to estimate AGB. First, we investigated correlations between AGB and each of these vegetation indices to identify the best estimator of AGB for each ecosystem type. Next, we estimated AGB for the five pooled ecosystem types by developing models containing dummy variables. At last, we compared the predictions of simple regression models and the models containing dummy variables to seek an ecosystem type-independent model to improve prediction of AGB for these various grassland ecosystems from hyperspectral measurements.
    Important findings When we considered each ecosystem type separately, all eight vegetation indices provided good estimates of AGB, with the best predictor of AGB varying among different ecosystems. When AGB of all the five ecosystems was estimated together using a simple linear model, VIUPD showed the lowest prediction error among the eight vegetation indices. The regression models containing dummy variables predicted AGB with higher accuracy than the simple models, which could be attributed to the dummy variables accounting for the effects of ecosystem type on the relationship between AGB and vegetation index (VI). These results suggest that VIUPD is the best predictor of AGB among simple regression models. Moreover, both VIUPD and the soil-adjusted VI could provide accurate estimates of AGB with dummy variables integrated in regression models. Therefore, ground-based hyperspectral measurements are useful for estimating AGB, which indicates the potential of applying satellite/airborne remote sensing techniques to AGB estimation of these grasslands on the Tibetan Plateau.
    Zakaria M. Sawan, Mahmoud H. Mahmoud, Amal H. El-Guibali
    2008, 1 (4): 259-270.
    Abstract ( 52 )   PDF   Save
    Aims Supplying optimal quantities of mineral nutrients to growing crop plants is one way to improve crop yields. Nutrients need to be used rationally in order to avoid a negative ecological impact and undesirable effects on the sustainability of agricultural production systems. Excessive application of nutrients also affects the farmer's economy. In order to calculate the amount of fertilizer to be applied to crops, it is necessary to develop recommendation programmers that adjust nutrient rates to crop requirements.
    Methods Experiments in two successive seasons were conducted to investigate the effect of K fertilization and foliar application of Zn and P on yield and fiber properties of cotton cv. Giza 86. Potassium (0.0 and 47.4 kg of K ha-1) was soil applied, while chelated zinc (0.0 and 57.6 g of Zn ha-1, applied twice at 70 and 85 days after sowing 'DAS') and phosphorus (0.0, 576, 1?152 and 1?728 g of P ha-1, applied twice at 80 and 95 DAS) were applied to the foliage.
    Important findings Dry matter yield, total chlorophyll concentration, K, Zn and P uptake per plant, number of opened bolls per plant, boll weight, seed index, lint index, seed cotton yield per plant, seed cotton and lint yield ha-1 and earliness of harvest increased with the application of K, Zn and P. Treatments generally had no significant effect on lint percentage and fiber properties, with exceptions, for micronaire reading and flat bundle strength, and uniformity ratio, where the mean values of these characters were significantly increased over the untreated control by applying K, and for the micronaire reading in the first season, when applying P at 1?728 g ha-1, and uniformity ratio in the second season, when applying P at 1?152 and 1?728 g ha-1, where the mean values of these characters were significantly increased over the untreated control by applying P. Under the conditions of this study, applying K fertilization at 47.4 kg ha-1 combined with spraying cotton plants with zinc at 57.6 g ha-1 and also with P at 1?728 g ha-1 improved growth and yield of Egyptian cotton.
Impact Factor
5 year Impact Factor
Wen-Hao Zhang
Bernhard Schmid