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Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1121; doi:10.3390/su8111121

Influence of Different Mowing Systems on Community Characteristics and the Compensatory Growth of Important Species of the Stipa grandis Steppe in Inner Mongolia

1
School of Life Sciences, Inner Mongolia University, No. 235, University West Road, Huhhot 010021, Inner Mongolia, China
2
Key Laboratory for Agro-Environment & Climate Change of Ministry of Agriculture, Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development in Agriculture, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100081, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Marc A. Rosen and Fausto Cavallero
Received: 13 May 2016 / Revised: 26 July 2016 / Accepted: 7 September 2016 / Published: 2 November 2016
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Abstract

The Stipa grandis steppe is a type of steppe in the Central Asian sub-region, and it is an important resource for livestock production in China. Mowing is one of the main management methods for this steppe. Verifying the response of the Stipa grandis steppe communities to different mowing frequencies is essential for the rational utilization of pastures and the protection and recovery of natural steppe. In this study, we investigated the community characteristics and compensatory growth of important species of the Stipa grandis steppe community under four mowing frequencies (TAY: twice a year; OAY: once a year; OTY: once every other year; NM: no mowing/enclosure), and found that different frequencies of mowing significantly influenced the community characteristics and the compensatory growth of dominant plant species. In the enclosure, species density was significantly lower, and height and biomass were significantly greater than in the mowing treatments. At the beginning of the growing season, mowing had a significant impact on the individual miniaturization of Stipa grandis, Leymus chinensis, and Anemarrhena asphodeloides. Mowing also had a significant impact on the diversity of the community. The Shannon diversity index, the Pielou evenness index, and the richness index were higher under OTY than other mowing frequencies. Under different mowing frequencies, growth rates were significantly different after the aboveground portions were cut, while the levels of biomass were not significantly different. Stipa grandis, Leymus chinensis, and Anemarrhena asphodeloides had less compensatory height growth under OAY compared to the other treatments; however, there were no significant differences in the relative growth rates of the three species under different treatments. Stipa grandis exhibited equivalent compensatory height growth; both Leymus chinensis and Anemarrhena asphodeloides exhibited over-compensatory growth. Based on the results of community characteristics and the compensatory growth of the dominant species, mowing every other year is currently the most practical mowing system. View Full-Text
Keywords: mowing frequency; community characteristics; diversity; individual miniaturization; compensatory growth mowing frequency; community characteristics; diversity; individual miniaturization; compensatory growth
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MDPI and ACS Style

Wan, Z.; Yang, J.; Gu, R.; Liang, Y.; Yan, Y.; Gao, Q.; Yang, J. Influence of Different Mowing Systems on Community Characteristics and the Compensatory Growth of Important Species of the Stipa grandis Steppe in Inner Mongolia. Sustainability 2016, 8, 1121.

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