Desert vegetation distribution and species-environment relationships in an oasis-desert ecotone of northwestern China
Environmental heterogeneity significantly affects the structure of ecological communities. Exploring vegetation distribution and its relationship with environmental factors is essential to understanding the abiotic mechanism(s) driving vegetation succession, especially in the ecologically fragile areas. In this study, based on the quantitative analysis of plant community and environmental factors in 68 plots at 10 different transects in the Minqin oasis-desert ecotone (ODE) of northwestern China, we investigated desert vegetation distribution and species-environment relationships using multivariate analysis. Two-way indicator species analysis (TWINSPAN), detrended correspondence analysis (DCA), and canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) methods were used. A total of 28 species, belonging to 27 genera in 8 families, were identified. Chenopodiaceae, Zygophyllaceae, Gramineae, and Leguminosae were the largest families. Annual and perennial herbs accounted for 28.60% of the total number of plants, while shrubs (42.90%) were the most dominant. Nitraria tangutorum was the constructive species of the desert plant community. We divided the 68 plots surveyed in this study into 7 community types, according to the results of TWINSPAN. The distribution of these 7 communities in the DCA ordination graph showed that species with a similar ecotype were clustered together. Results of CCA indicated that groundwater was the dominant factor influencing vegetation distribution, while distance between plot and oasis (Dis) and soil electrical conductivity (EC) were the local second-order factors. Our study suggests that optimizing the utilization of groundwater in oases is key to controlling the degradation of desert vegetation. The favorable topographic conditions of sand dunes should be fully utilized for vegetal dune stabilization, and the influence of soil salinity on the selection of afforestation tree species should be considered.
ZHAO, Peng; QU, Jianjun; XU, Xianying; YU, Qiush; JIANG, Shengxiu; and ZHAO, Heran
"Desert vegetation distribution and species-environment relationships in an oasis-desert ecotone of northwestern China,"
Journal of Arid Land: Vol. 11
, Article 11.
Available at: https://egijournals.researchcommons.org/journal-of-arid-land/vol11/iss3/11