Soil seed banks in the alpine grassland ecosystem: Structure and function during vegetation degradation and restoration

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Zhanhuan Shang

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Although soil seed banks have long existed in alpine ecosystems, current studies indicate that soil seed banks are not very effective in maintaining function in stable alpine vegetation, especially those of alpine vegetation system that rely heavily on asexual reproduction. Based on analyses of the soil seed bank and vegetation changes in the alpine ecosystem globally and analysis of changes in the soil seed bank in alpine grassland on the Tibetan Plateau, we found the following: 1) With severe environmental changes, the impact of soil seed banks on vegetation in alpine ecosystems immediately had a strong driving effect, 2) In the process of vegetation degradation, some species with enormous seed numbers in the soil became the dominant populations in the process of dynamic vegetation change (e.g. Artemisia spp., Potentilla spp., Koenigia spp.), 3) The soil seed bank density of some species is continuously enhanced, making the toxic weed community formed more stable after the disturbance, and making difficult colonization by some native plants, 4) Relying on native vegetation’s soil seed banks (e.g. Kobresia spp., Poa spp.) to recover degraded grasslands is difficult, and 5) Artificial soil seed bank donations can help the reconstruction of vegetation and accelerate the near-natural recovery process of vegetation. Therefore, we should pay attention to the preservation and adoption of donation technology for native plant seed banks in alpine grassland. These can help to obtain faster natural recovery processes in the restoration engineering of degraded alpine ecosystems.

Resource Type:
Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019

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Society for Ecological Restoration