Groundwater Depth and Soil Properties Are Associated with Variation in Vegetation of a Desert Riparian Ecosystem in an Arid Area of China
AbstractGroundwater is a major driving force for plant community distribution in arid areas worldwide. Although it is well known that groundwater has a significant impact on soil and vegetation, there is little information on how groundwater depth affects soil and vegetation in an arid inland basin desert riparian ecosystem. Therefore, quantitative analysis of the relationships among groundwater depth, soil properties and plant community distribution is necessary. A desert riparian ecosystem in the lower reaches of the Heihe River in an arid area of Northwest China was used to determine quantitative relationships among groundwater depth, soil and vegetation. Groundwater depth significantly increased with increased distance from the river. Soil and vegetation characteristics showed a significant trend with increasing groundwater depth. With increasing groundwater depth, soil water content, soil total nitrogen, soil total carbon, soil available phosphorus and soil available potassium decreased, while the soil bulk density and soil carbon:nitrogen (C:N) ratio increased. Soil pH and soil electrical conductivity followed quadratic function relationships with groundwater depth. Species richness, aboveground biomass, community coverage, community height, foliage projective cover and leaf area index all significantly decreased with increased groundwater depth. Groundwater depth and soil were associated with vegetation variance, explaining 85.8% of the vegetation variance. Groundwater depth was more important in explaining vegetation variance than soil properties (soil bulk density) and soil pH. Our observations indicate that changes in groundwater depth would have a significant influence on desert riparian forest vegetation, and that maintaining appropriate groundwater depth is necessary to preserve the riparian ecosystem. View Full-Text
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Zhang, X.; Guan, T.; Zhou, J.; Cai, W.; Gao, N.; Du, H.; Jiang, L.; Lai, L.; Zheng, Y. Groundwater Depth and Soil Properties Are Associated with Variation in Vegetation of a Desert Riparian Ecosystem in an Arid Area of China. Forests 2018, 9, 34.
Zhang X, Guan T, Zhou J, Cai W, Gao N, Du H, Jiang L, Lai L, Zheng Y. Groundwater Depth and Soil Properties Are Associated with Variation in Vegetation of a Desert Riparian Ecosystem in an Arid Area of China. Forests. 2018; 9(1):34.Chicago/Turabian Style
Zhang, Xiaolong; Guan, Tianyu; Zhou, Jihua; Cai, Wentao; Gao, Nannan; Du, Hui; Jiang, Lianhe; Lai, Liming; Zheng, Yuanrun. 2018. "Groundwater Depth and Soil Properties Are Associated with Variation in Vegetation of a Desert Riparian Ecosystem in an Arid Area of China." Forests 9, no. 1: 34.
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