Leaf wetness provides a wide range of beneﬁts not only to leaves, but also to ecosystems and communities. It regulates canopy eco-hydrological processes and drives spatial differences in hydrological flux. In spite of these functions, little remains known about the spatial distribution of leaf wetness under different soil water conditions. Leaf wetness measurements at the top (180 cm), middle (135 cm), and bottom (85 cm) of the canopy positions of rainfed jujube (Ziziphus jujuba Mill.) in the Chinese loess hilly region were obtained along with meteorological and soil water conditions during the growing seasons in 2019 and 2020. Under soil water non-deficit condition, the frequency of occurrence of leaf wetness was 5.45% higher at the top than at the middle and bottom of the canopy positions. The frequency of occurrence of leaf wetness at the top, middle and bottom of the canopy positions was over 80% at 17:00‒18:00 (LST). However, the occurrence of leaf wetness at the top was earlier than those at the middle and bottom of the canopy positions. Correspondingly, leaf drying at the top was also latter than those at the middle and bottom of the canopy positions. Leaf wetness duration at the middle was similar to that at the bottom of the canopy position, but about 1.46–3.01 h less than that at the top. Under soil water deficit condition, the frequency of occurrence of leaf wetness (4.92%–45.45%) followed the order of top>middle>bottom of the canopy position. As the onset of leaf wetness was delayed, the onset of wet leaf drying was advanced and the leaf wetness duration was shortened. Leaf wetness duration at the top was linearly related (R2>0.70) to those at the middle and bottom of the canopy positions under different soil water conditions. In conclusion, the hydrological processes at canopy surfaces of rainfed jujube depended on the position of leaves, thus adjusting canopy structure to redistribute hydrological process is a way to meet the water need of jujube.
摘要：Frequent periods of drought conditions are known to limit plant performance, primary production, and ecosystem stability in arid and semi-arid desert steppe environments. Plants often avoid competition by shifting their water use seasonally, which affects the water-use patterns of dominant species as well as the composition and structure of plant communities. However, the water-use strategies of dominant herbaceous species, which grow under natural field conditions in the desert steppe region of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, China, are poorly known. Here, we explored the possible sources of water uptake and water-use efficiency (WUE) of three dominant herbaceous plant species (Stipa breviflora, Agropyron mongolicum, and Glycyrrhiza uralensis) in a native desert steppe in the semi-arid area of Ningxia through an analysis of multiple parameters, including (1) the stable isotopic oxygen and hydrogen (δ18O and δ2H) compositions of precipitation, soil water, and stem water, (2) the carbon isotope (13C) composition of leaves, and (3) the soil water contents, based on field sampling across varying water conditions from June to September, 2017. Frequent small precipitation events replenished shallow soil water, whereas large events only percolated down to the deep soil layers. Changes in soil water availability affected the water-use patterns of plants. Generally, during light precipitation periods, the deep root system of G. uralensis accessed deeper (>80 cm) soil water, whereas S. breviflora and A. mongolicum, which only have shallow roots, primarily absorbed water from the shallow and middle soil layers. As precipitation increased, all three plant species primarily obtained water from the shallow soil layers. Variation in soil water uptake between the dry and wet seasons enabled plants to make better use of existing satoil water. In addition, the δ13C values of G. uralensis and S. breviflora were higher than those of A. mongolicum. The δ13C values of the three plant species were significantly negatively correlated with soil water content. Therefore, G. uralensis and S. breviflora maintained a higher WUE through their conservative and water-saving strategies across the entire growing season. In contrast, A. mongolicum, with a relatively low WUE in the wet season but a high WUE in the dry season, exhibited a more flexible water-use strategy. The different water-use strategies of these dominant plant species demonstrated the mechanisms by which plant communities can respond to drought.
摘要：Grazing exclusion is one of the most efficient approaches to restore degraded grassland but may negatively affects the recovery of species diversity. Changes in plant species diversity should be a consequence of the ecological assembly process. Local community assembly is influenced by environmental filtering, biotic interactions, and dispersal. However, how these factors potentially contribute to changes to species diversity is poorly understood, especially in harsh environments. In this study, two management sites within a Stipa breviflora desert steppe community (typical natural steppe) were selected in northern China. In one of the two management sites, grazing has been excluded since 2010 and in the other with open grazing by sheep. In August 2016, three plots were established and 100 sampling units were created within each plot in a 5 m×5 m area at the two management sites. To assess the effects of grazing exclusion on S. breviflora steppe, we analyzed the vegetation biomass, species diversity, soil organic carbon, and soil particle size distribution using paired T-tests. In addition, variation partitioning was applied to determine the relative importance of environmental filtering and dispersal limitation. Null mode analysis was used to quantify the influence of biotic interactions in conjunction with EcoSim niche overlap and co-occurrence values. Our results demonstrated that (1) species diversity significantly decreased and the main improvements in soil quality occurred in the topsoil 0–10 cm after the grazing exclusion; (2) environmental filtering was important for community assembly between grazed and fenced grassland and this appears particularly true for soil particle size distribution, which may be well correlated with soil hydrological processes; and (3) however, competitive exclusion may play a significant role within the exclusion. The multiple pathways of assembly may collectively determine negative effects on the restoration of species diversity. Therefore, designers should be aware of the risk of reducing grazing exclusion-induced species diversity and account for manipulating processes. This in turn will reduce dominant species and promote environmental heterogeneity to maximize species diversity in semi-arid regions.