J Plant Ecol ›› 2021, Vol. 14 ›› Issue (6): 1024-1029 .DOI: 10.1093/jpe/rtab056

• Short Communication • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Grazing-induced legacy effects enhance plant adaption to drought by larger root allocation plasticity

Feng-Hui Guo1,2,†, Xi-Liang Li2,†, Jing-Jing Yin3, Saheed Olaide Jimoh2 and Xiang-Yang Hou1,*   

  1. 1 College of Grassland Science, Shanxi Agricultural University, Taigu 030801, Shanxi, China, 2 Institute of Grassland Research, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Hohhot 010010, Inner Mongolia, China, 3 School of Ecology and Environment, Inner Mongolia University, Hohhot 010010, Inner Mongolia, China

    *Corresponding author. E-mail: houxy16@126.com
    These authors contributed equally to this work.
  • Received:2021-02-06 Revised:2021-04-15 Accepted:2021-05-02 Online:2021-05-22 Published:2021-12-01



To explore whether grazing-induced legacy effects on plants could benefit plants adaptation to drought.


A water-controlled experiment was conducted in the greenhouse, which with Agropyron cristatum and Carex korshinskyi collected from free-grazing and enclosed plots on a typical grassland in Inner Mongolia.

Important Findings

We found that A. cristatum and C. korshinskyi collected from the free-grazing plot were less affected by drought in terms of ramet biomass, ramet number and total biomass than those collected from the enclosed plot. The enhanced adaptation to drought for plants collected from the free-grazing plot should partly be ascribed to the larger root biomass allocation plasticity under drought treatment. Our findings suggest that grazing management can be used to improve the adaptation of grassland plants to climate change.

Key words: Climate change, Grazing, Legacy effects, Drought, Root biomass allocation

为探索植物的放牧遗留效应是否有利于天然草原生态系统应对干旱环境,我们采集了 内蒙古典型草原自由放牧和多年围封样地内的冰草(Agropyron cristatum)和黄囊苔草(Carex korshinskyi)幼苗 进行了温室控水试验。研究结果表明,干旱处理对自由放牧样地采集的冰草和黄囊苔草子株生物量、子株数量和总生物量的影响较小;自由放牧区的冰草与黄囊苔草较强的干旱适应性可部分由干旱处理下较大的根系分配可塑性来解释。本研究结果表明合理放牧是天然草原适应气候变化的潜在管理办法之一。

关键词: 气候变化, 放牧, 遗留效应, 干旱, 根系生物量分配