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Journal of Arid Land

Abstract

Globally climates are warming. How do desert plants of different ecotypes respond to the climate change? This paper studied the differing responses to climate warming shown by desert plants of different ecotypes through analyzing the phenology and meteorological data of 22 desert plant species growing in Minqin Desert Botanical Garden in Northwest China during the period 1974–2009. The results indicate: (1) The temperature in the study area has risen quickly since 1974, and plants’ growing periods became longer. The spring phenology of mesophytes advanced, and the autumn phenology of xerophytes was delayed; (2) The starting dates of spring phenophase of mesophytes and xerophytes differed significantly and both showed an advancing trend; (3) The spring phenology of mesophytes advanced by more days than that of xerophytes, whereas the autumn phenology of mesophytes was delayed by less days than that of the xerophytes; and (4) Mesophytes are more sensitive than xerophytes to rising temperature in spring and falling temperature in autumn. These findings are of value in plant management and regional introduction of different species.

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