Distylium chinense is an evergreen shrub used for the vegetation recovery of floodplain and riparian areas in Three Gorges Reservoir Region. To clarify the morphological and physiological responses and tolerance of Distylium chinense to off-season flooding, a simulation flooding experiment was conducted during autumn and winter. Results indicated that the survival rate of seedlings was 100%, and that plant height and stem diameter were not significantly affected by flooding. Adventitious roots and hypertrophic lenticels were observed in flooded seedlings after 30 days of flooding. Flooding significantly reduced the plant biomass of roots, net photosynthetic rate (Pn), stomatal conductance (gs), transpiration rate (Tr), maximum photochemical efficiency (Fv/Fm), photochemical quenching (qP), and electron transport rate (ETR) in leaves, and also affected the allocation and transport of carbohydrate and nutrients. However, D. chinense was able to maintain stable levels of Pn, Fv/Fm, qP, ETR, and nutrient content (N and P) in leaves and to store a certain amount of carbohydrate in roots over prolonged durations of flooding. Based on these results, we conclude that there is a high flooding tolerance in D. chinense, and the high survival rate of D. chinense may be attributable to a combination of morphological and physiological responses to flooding.
To better understand the soil carbon dynamics and cycling in terrestrial ecosystems in response to environmental changes, we studied soil respiration, litter decomposition, and their relations to soil temperature and soil water content for 18-months (Aug. 2010-Jan. 2012) in three different-aged Pinus massoniana forests in the Three Gorges Reservoir Area, China. Across the experimental period, the mean total soil respiration and litter respiration were 1.94 and 0.81, 2.00 and 0.60, 2.19 and 0.71 µmol CO2 m(-2) s(-1), and the litter dry mass remaining was 57.6%, 56.2% and 61.3% in the 20-, 30-, and 46-year-old forests, respectively. We found that the temporal variations of soil respiration and litter decomposition rates can be well explained by soil temperature at 5 cm depth. Both the total soil respiration and litter respiration were significantly positively correlated with the litter decomposition rates. The mean contribution of the litter respiration to the total soil respiration was 31.0%-45.9% for the three different-aged forests. The present study found that the total soil respiration was not significantly affected by forest age when P. masonniana stands exceed a certain age (e.g. >20 years old), but it increased significantly with increased soil temperature. Hence, forest management strategies need to protect the understory vegetation to limit soil warming, in order to reduce the CO2 emission under the currently rapid global warming. The contribution of litter decomposition to the total soil respiration varies across spatial and temporal scales. This indicates the need for separate consideration of soil and litter respiration when assessing the climate impacts on forest carbon cycling.
Forest tree species distributed across a wide range of geographical areas are subjected to differential climatic and edaphic conditions and long-term selection, leading to genotypes with morphological and physiological adaptation to the local environment. To test the ability of species to cope with changing environmental conditions, we studied the ecophysiological features of Quercus variabilis using seedlings grown in geographically widely isolated populations (Exp. I, in situ) and in a common garden (Exp. II, ex situ) using seedlings originating from those populations. We found that Q. variabilis plants grown in different locations along a south-north gradient had different levels of nutrients (N, P, K) and carbon-physiological performance (photosynthesis, non-structural carbohydrates, such as soluble sugars and starch), and that these physiological differences were not correlated with local soil properties. These geographic variations of plant physiology disappeared when plants from different locations were grown in the same environment. Our results indicate that the physiological performance of Q. variabilis plants is mainly determined by the climatic variations across latitude rather than by their soils or by genetic differentiation. The adaptive ability of Q. variabilis found in the present study suggests that this species has the potential to cope, at least to some extent, with changing environmental conditions.
Non-point source water pollution generated by agricultural production is considered a major environmental issue in the Three Gorges Reservoir Area (TGRA) of China. The Annualised Agricultural Non-Point Source Pollution (AnnAGNPS) model was selected to assess the impact of the application of various management treats, including seven crops, five fertilizer levels and three-group management practice scenarios, on water quality from Heigou River Watershed in TGRA. The scenario subsets include conservation tillage practice (CTP), conservation reserve program (CRP) and conversion of cropland into forestland program (CCFP). Results indicated that tea can not be replaced by other crops because comparatively tea resulted in a higher sediment yield. CTP with no-tillage was more effective to reduce sediment yield, but could increased nutrient loss. CRP reduced sediment yield significantly, but slightly benefited on nutrient loss. CCFP reduced not only sediment yield but also the nutrient loss significantly. The conversion of cropland with a slope greater than 10 degrees into forestland was found to be the best scenario as the sediment yield export is less than 5 tons/ha and nutrient loss is within the permissible limit.
Biometric inventories for 25 years, from 1983 to 2005, indicated that the Jianfengling tropical mountain rain forest in Hainan, China, was either a source or a modest sink of carbon. Overall, this forest was a small carbon sink with an accumulation rate of (0.56+/-0.22) Mg C ha(-1)yr(-1), integrated from the long-term measurement data of two plots (P9201 and P8302). These findings were similar to those for African and American rain forests ((0.62+/-0.23) Mg C ha(-1)yr(-1)). The carbon density varied between (201.43+/-29.38) Mg C ha(-1) and (229.16+/-39.2) Mg C ha(-1), and averaged (214.17+/-32.42) Mg C ha(-1) for plot P9201. Plot P8302, however, varied between (223.95+/-45.92) Mg C ha(-1) and (254.85+/-48.86) Mg C ha(-1), and averaged (243.35+/-47.64) Mg C ha(-1). Quadratic relationships were found between the strength of carbon sequestration and heavy rainstorms and dry months. Precipitation and evapotranspiration are two major factors controlling carbon sequestration in the tropical mountain rain forest.
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