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Effects of rainfall patterns on annual plants in Horqin Sandy Land, Inner Mongolia of China

YUE Xiangfei  ZHANG Tonghui  ZHAO Xueyong  LIU Xinping  MA Yunhua  
【摘要】:Growth of annual plants in arid environments depends largely on rainfall pulses. An increased understanding of the effects of different rainfall patterns on plant growth is critical to predicting the potential responses of plants to the changes in rainfall regimes, such as rainfall intensity and duration, and length of dry intervals. In this study, we investigated the effects of different rainfall patterns(e.g. small rainfall event with high frequency and large rainfall event with low frequency) on biomass, growth characteristics and vertical distribution of root biomass of annual plants in Horqin Sandy Land, Inner Mongolia of China during the growing season(from May to August) of 2014. Our results showed that the rainfall patterns, independent of total rainfall amount, exerted strong effects on biomass, characteristics of plant growth and vertical distribution of root biomass. Under a constant amount of total rainfall, the aboveground biomass(AGB), belowground biomass(BGB), plant cover, plant height, and plant individual and species number increased with an increase in rainfall intensity. Changes in rainfall patterns also altered the percentage contribution of species biomass to the total AGB, and the percentage of BGB at different soil layers to the total BGB. Consequently, our results indicated that increased rainfall intensity in future may increase biomass significantly, and also affect the growth characteristics of annual plants.

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