Responses to air temperature and soil moisture of growth of four dominant species on sand dunes of central Inner Mongolia.

Journal of plant research

PubMedID: 18553124

Zheng Y, Rimmington GM, Xie Z, Zhang L, An P, Zhou G, Li X, Yu Y, Chen L, Shimizu H. Responses to air temperature and soil moisture of growth of four dominant species on sand dunes of central Inner Mongolia. J Plant Res. 2008;121(5):473-82.
Little attention has been paid to how four dominant shrub species distributed in semi-arid areas respond to the combined effects of temperature and water supply. Seedlings of four species were grown in a glasshouse for eight weeks at air temperatures of 12.5/22.5, 15/25, 17.5/27.5, and 20/30 degrees C (night/day) and with water supplies of 37.5, 75, 112.5, and 150 mm per month. When temperatures were 17.5/27.5 and 20/30 degrees C relative growth rate (RGR) decreased for Artemisia ordosica, A. sphaerocephala, and Hedysarum laeve but not for Caragana korshinskii. RGR increased with increasing water availability for all four species and most treatments. In response to changing water availability, the RGR tended to correlate mainly with the physiological trait (net assimilation rate, NAR) and with dry matter allocation traits (below-ground to above-ground dry matter and leaf mass ratio). A higher ratio of below to above-ground dry matter for all four species under most treatments (0.3-1.7) and water-use efficiency (1.4-9.2 g kg(-1)) may explain how all four species survive drought. Higher temperatures may be harmful to A. ordosica and A. sphaerocephala, under current precipitation levels (average 75 mm per month from mid-June to mid-August). These findings support the proposal that A. ordosica mixed with C. korshinskii will prove optimal for re-vegetation of degraded areas of the Ordos plateau.