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Article

Vegetation Characteristics and Response to the Soil Properties of Three Medicinal Plant Communities in Altay Prefecture, China

by 1,2, 2, 2, 1,* and 3,*
1
Institute of Ecology, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences and Key Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes of Ministry of Education, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
2
State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory of Regional Eco-Process and Function Assessment, Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, Beijing 100012, China
3
State Key Laboratory of Environment Criteria and Risk Assessment, Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, Beijing 100012, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(24), 10306; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122410306
Received: 9 November 2020 / Revised: 7 December 2020 / Accepted: 8 December 2020 / Published: 10 December 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainability, Biodiversity and Conservation)
Plant communities and their environments are a vital part of synecology research. In this study, we investigated the characteristics of three typical medicinal perennial herbs, Glycyrrhiza uralensis, Rheum altaicum, and Ferula sinkiangensis, and examined their response to local soil properties in Altay Prefecture, China. A total of 29 species belonging to 15 families and 25 genera were recorded. In terms of the target medicinal plants, the importance value was low and community structures were exceedingly simple. Quantitative classification based on WARD cluster analysis suggested that each medicinal plant can be classified into one of three types: annual herbaceous, perennial herbaceous, and subshrub or shrub. Interestingly, the plants gradually transformed from exhibiting nonresistance to xerophytes or halophytes. An investigation of the soil properties beneath the medicinal plants showed that nutrients in black soil were much more abundant than those in sandy and saline soil. Except for leaching phenomenon, the nutrient contents in the soil surface layer (0–10 cm) were higher than those in deep layers (10–20 cm and 20–40 cm), and to some extent, the nutrient contents were inversely proportional to the depth of the soil. The redundancy analysis (RDA) results of the medicinal plants and their relationship with soil properties indicated that the main soil variables impacting the distribution of G. uralensis were available potassium (AK), aspect (ASP), soil moisture (SM), total nitrogen (TN), and total phosphorus (TP); SM, electric conductivity (EC), elevation (ELE), ASP, pH value (pH), available nitrogen (AN), soil organic content (SOC), and the carbon/nitrogen (C/N) ratio had positive effects on the distribution of R. altaicum. F. sinkiangensis grew better in habitats with high contents of SM, EC, TN, AN, available phosphorus (AP), total potassium (TK), and AK. This study aimed at providing effective suggestions for artificial cultivation, conservation, and resilience of Chinese medicinal plants. View Full-Text
Keywords: medicinal plants; vegetation diversity; ordination analysis; soil nutrients; elevation medicinal plants; vegetation diversity; ordination analysis; soil nutrients; elevation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Lang, T.; Pan, L.; Liu, B.; Guo, T.; Hou, X. Vegetation Characteristics and Response to the Soil Properties of Three Medicinal Plant Communities in Altay Prefecture, China. Sustainability 2020, 12, 10306. https://doi.org/10.3390/su122410306

AMA Style

Lang T, Pan L, Liu B, Guo T, Hou X. Vegetation Characteristics and Response to the Soil Properties of Three Medicinal Plant Communities in Altay Prefecture, China. Sustainability. 2020; 12(24):10306. https://doi.org/10.3390/su122410306

Chicago/Turabian Style

Lang, Tao, Libo Pan, Bo Liu, Tong Guo, and Xikang Hou. 2020. "Vegetation Characteristics and Response to the Soil Properties of Three Medicinal Plant Communities in Altay Prefecture, China" Sustainability 12, no. 24: 10306. https://doi.org/10.3390/su122410306

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