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Article
Peer-Review Record

The Effect of Grazing on the Temperature Regime of the Alas Soils of Central Yakutia

Reviewer 1: Anonymous
Reviewer 2: Michał Stępień
Reviewer 3: Anonymous
Received: 7 September 2020 / Revised: 21 September 2020 / Accepted: 22 September 2020 / Published: 1 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Permafrost Landscape)

Round 1

Reviewer 1 Report

I can see that the manuscript underwent significant improvements since the first submission. I recommend this paper for publication after minor revision. My comment are put on the pdf file, but here is the list with the most significant ones:

1) the Authors use the term "projective cover" - I guess, it should be "protective cover"

2) The numbers used in Tab. 1 and 2 should be briefly explained (maybe in captions)

3) Statistics provided in captions for figures 7-9 are puzzling. What Are they for? a correlation (between what and what?)? a statistical test? this is very unclear

4) measures should be given in the same units (preferably SI); e.g. depths in meters, but not meters or centimeters (as it is in the manuscript)

5) linguistic corrections should be applied in some places

Comments for author File: Comments.pdf

Author Response

Thank you for your interest in our work. Thank you so much for your precise comments and corrections. Thank you for translating the texts. We will use this experience in our future research.

Please see the attachment.

 

 

Author Response File: Author Response.pdf

Reviewer 2 Report

In my opinion, the changes made to the paper by authors made it more accessible to readers from other parts of the world and thus confirmed global importance of the study. Particularly, I appreciate adding of the table 1 and 2, which give good oversight of the changes in plant communities.

However, I still recommend addition of short information and references regarding classification of temperature regimes used in the paper. It is important to compare it with other classifications used in the world, e.g. soil temperature regimes used in Soil Taxonomy. This information is important for future papers, to discuss the results obtained in other parts of the world.

I could not not find, either, short description of statistical methods used in the paper, although the F and p values were added to figures 6-9. Under these figures, it should be clarified, that the F and p values refer to treatments (steppe, isolated steppe, meadow and isolated meadow) as I can suppose, or years. Or perhaps, they refer to mean ,easured values during the whole period of this study? Perhaps, it would be also useful to add multiple comparisons of average values, in form of lower case letters a, b, c... above respective columns in diagrams?

I found also some small issues to be amended:

Line 84 Endogamy Stagnosols - please, check the prefix qualifier Endogamy - I cannot found this (gamy) in WRB 2014. If the authors have no sufficient data to determine qualifier, it is acceptable to provide the name of reference group only.

Lines 79-89 - please add information of the WRB classification used (2014?)

 

Author Response

Thank you for your interest in our work. Thank you so much for your precise comments and corrections. We will use this experience in our future research.

Please see the attachment.

 

Author Response File: Author Response.pdf

Reviewer 3 Report

In Tables 1 and 2, the meaning of the numbers indicated for each species should be explained.

 

In line 134 (page 6) check if the numbers 0.7-1.7 of this text are correct compared to what is shown in Figure 6: “… the soil under the isolated site decreased by 0.7-1.7 °C in the humus layer of the alas steppe soil (Figure 6)…”

 

One of the graphs of Figure 10 (Steppe 2018-2019) is not properly represented.

 

“Introduction” and “Material and methods” sections, could be slightly improved.

Author Response

Thank you for your interest in our work. 

Please see the attachment.

 

Author Response File: Author Response.pdf

This manuscript is a resubmission of an earlier submission. The following is a list of the peer review reports and author responses from that submission.


Round 1

Reviewer 1 Report

The article contains interesting data about soil thermal properties modified by grazing in a thermokarst landform of Yakutia. 

However, some data are missing (e.g. description of study site - information of permafrost, active layer depth, etc.), numerous clarifications are required in the text - some, due to improper English.   I have put my detailed comments on the pdf file of the manuscript.

In general, Results should be rewritten to make the massage more clear, Discussion should be more concentrated on the main issue of soil properties (and less on climate change), Conclusions must be developed.

Figure 1 must be improved (no scales!)

 

 

Comments for author File: Comments.pdf

Author Response

Hello dear reviewer!

Thank you for viewing, commenting, and editing our article. we send responses to your comments.

Sincerely, the authors of this article.

Author Response File: Author Response.pdf

Reviewer 2 Report

Major comments: I carefully read the paper entitled "The Effect of
Grazing on Temperature Regime of Alas Soils of Central Yakutia" by
Makarov et al. . I did enjoyed the objective of the study as well as
the approach. That being said I have few comments which prevent me of
allowing the paper to be published as it is.


1/ The paper needs to develop the section material and methods, especially, on:
- A better description of the two sites, I would emphasize a bit more on the variety of plants, since you are discussing on it in the result part.
- You need to add Figure 12 as part of Figure 1
- More detailed captions, labels and scales are needed for all of your figures
- you need to explain how you computed the projective cover, as well as how you computed the average height
- you are missing a figure of both different plots (isolated and grazed)
- For Figure 2,
Line 75 and figure 2, I suggest that you developp a bit more the
caption for this figure, particularly, I would suggest to develop on
the layer found at around 1 meter for the meadow sol, the red layer may be
suggesting an accumulation of decomposed organic matter ? In addition, on this figure, could you add readable depths, because the tape measure is
unfortunately not readable

2/ In the result part:
- Please described which species are represented in Figure 3, especially:
Line 100-101: "The projective cover increases after isolation (from 80% to 100%), a significant increase in the
average height of the grass stand and a gradual reduction in the number of species is observed"
I do not see that in figure 3.

- We need a sense of the representation for the weather data. The weather station is at the same elevation ?

- Why did you chose the sum of temperature above 10C as an indicator ?
- On Figure 6, I suggest to add the std or the variance, or min/max, as a average value is very difficult to discuss about.
- For Figure 8, what do represent the dashed lines ?
- You need to explain how you created figure 10, especially what does represent your x axis, with roman letters ?
- Figure 7, please explain why in 2018, we do not have any steppe data ? and how many points are used for computing the histplot ?


If you can make the corrections, the paper will be greatly ameliorated and we will be able to ameliorate the discussion and conclusion based on your corrected figures.

Minor comments:
- Change "," to "." for numbers. For example, Line 84 0.5 and 1.0°C, no comma
- Line 82, precise which datalogger was used for the measurements
- Line 39 1920-1940 ss ?
- Figure 1, needs a scale for the bottom figures
- For the introduction I suggest to add a paragraph in material and methods about the different species in place (right now this is described in lines 97-112), as well as presenting both sites.

 

Thank you

 

Author Response

Hello dear reviewer!

Thank you for viewing, commenting, and editing our article. we send responses to your comments.

Sincerely, the authors of this article.

Author Response File: Author Response.pdf

Reviewer 3 Report

GENERAL COMMENTS

I find the paper  very interesting and relevant. It contributes to the knowledge of processes occuring with soils with permafrost and it is particularly important in the period of climate change.

However, I found some faults regarding methodology and other aspects and I recommend major revision of this paper before publication.

1. Experimental design and statistical analysis. Currently, the statistical analysis is required in scientific papers. This requirement should be considered, when designing experiment. However, I can see that there were only two experimental objects, steppe and meadow soils, without replications. As I can suppose, there were 4 temperature loggers, placed in (1) meadow soil, isolated, (2) meadow soil, grazed, (3) steppe soil, isolated, (4) steppe soil, grazed. Thus, it is very difficult to judge on statistical significance of differences found. Even if the authors would doubled the number of loggers and placed 2 of them within isolated area and 2 in grazed of each site, it would be much easier to evaluate the results. Perhaps the authors did not have sufficient number of loggers? I understand it, however the issue of the lack of statistical analysis should be amended in some, even simple way, before publication of this paper. I suggest the following possibilities:

(a) to treat the Study site 1 (steppe soil) and Study site 2 (meadow soil) as replications for check of effect of grazing and years on temperature and other aspects;

(b) to treat years as replications to check the effect of grazing and site (soil and vegetation) on temperature and other aspects;

(c) to treat isolated and grazed areas of both study sites as replications to check the effect of year and site on temperature and other aspects.

Then, the authors may use a simple method of statistical analysis to compare average values and assess the significance of differences observed. The possible methods are the following: for figures 3, 5 and 6 - t-test for paired samples; fig. 7, 8 and 9 - ANOVA for Randomized Complete Block Design or ANOVA for repeated measures (where repeated measures are data from different years). The authors may find t-test on Excel Software, but there are also services online providing possibilities of statistical analyses such as

https://www.socscistatistics.com/tests/anovarepeated/default.aspx

http://vassarstats.net/anova2corr.html

The authors may add P values in the corners of each diagram.

Anyway, the authors may use other statistical methods to check the significance of differences, than those suggested in this review. Regardless of statistical methods used, the authors should add short information of the statistical significance to their results.

2. The Introduction and discusion could be completed with some references on other more or less similar thermokarst areas found in the world. I could find in Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alas_(geography) that alases are exceptional, as the lakes are temporary in Yakutia, contrary to other thermokarst depressions. Despite of this, the authors could explain shortly the differences and similarities between alases and thermokarst lakes found in other areas of the word (Alaska, Canada and perhaps others) and, if possible, find and discuss shorty some references regarding hydrothermal regime of these other areas. It is not absolutely necessary, however it would provide additional value to this paper and place it in boroader, more global context. It would be also goog to add evaluation, if the thermokarst phenomena are negative or positive and why?

3. The readers from outside of Russia may be quite infamiliar with projective cover mentioned in figure 3 and the text. Do you refer to the concept described by Leonid Sobolew? I have translation of his book Osnovy ekologiczeskoi tipologii zemliey published in 1984 in Poland, so the book was published earlier in Soviet Union. Anyway, it is necessary to define shortly the projective cover, describe the mode of measurement, provide reference, and relate projective cover to the other methods of assessment vegetation cover used in western science (for example Braun-Blanquet scale and other methods). If the authors consider such description too extensive, they should prepare supplementary file with such information and refer to it in Methodology chapter. English language reference is preferred, however, if it is necessary, the authors may provide the most relevant source written in Russian and use it as the base to short description in English to be placed in Methods or in supplementary file.

4. Soil classification and temperature regime classifications. In my opinion it would be useful to provide short information on classification of soils and hydrothermal regimes (e.g. line 222) used in this study with respective references as supplementary file. I can suppose, that the authors use other classifications, than used in English language literature. It would contribute to better understanding of the terms used in the study.

 

Please, find below some additional, detailed comments which may contribute to further improvement of this paper.

 

DETAILED COMMENTS

1. Introduction

Lines 65-69. At the end of this paragraph, I would write clearly (enumerate) the objectives of the study. In the current version, this objectives may be only supposed/deducted from these line (65-69).

Figures 1 and 12: Please, add a scale to each map shown on both figures.

2. Materials and Methods

Lines 71-76: the authors provide information on soil texture class, but they should clarify, that it refers to USDA texture classification. If not, they should add information on soil texture classification used, and than inform, on it's relationship with texture classification used by USDA or WRB, which differ in some aspects.

The authors mention alas steppe soils and alas meadows soils in the text (lines 73 and 74), and, additionally, in the Figure 1, alas swamp soils and alas pale-yellow soils, I recommend to add, in parentheses in the text and figure caption, the information on most probable reference group of WRB 2014 with most relevant principal qualifiers, if possible. WRB 2014 (update 2015) in English is available at http://www.fao.org/3/i3794en/I3794en.pdf

Lines 79-81: I suggest to write clearly how and what was measured: height and projective cover, and, perhaps, on assessment of botanical composition? Please, provide information of number of measurements of height for each study site, isolated and grazed area. Please, add information on the definition and method of measurement of projective cover with respective reference.

Line 87: Please, add information of the source of weather data: the name and geographic coordinates of meteorological station "Churapcha". Then, the authors should mention information of the definition of active temperatures (line 142) and relate this term to Growing Degree Days (GDD). In my opinion both terms have the same meaning, but GDD is more frequently used and is more universal.

3. Results

Lines 116-128 and figure 4: I would shift these paragraph and figure to the beginning of results.

Lines 100-103: Did I undestand correctly that the isolation which prevented grazing, led to: increase of projective cover and reduction to the number of species? It is possible, I simply want to be sure. I have also some doubts regarding the phrase "Poa pratensis L. appears in the community of cereals". I understand the term cereals similarly to Wikipedia, i. e. as "any grass cultivated (grown) for the edible components of its grain". For these reason I don't think that the use of this term is adequate in this study, as the cereals are grown on arable, and not pasture lands.

Figures 5 and 6: I suggest to prepare one figure with previous figures 5 and 6. If authors show 4 lines on one diagram, the difference between steppe (lower temperature) and meadow (higher tmperature) soils will be more easily observed. In this case, the authors may use the same colors, as in the figures 7 and 9.

Line 142: The information on the definition of active temperatures should be shifted to Materials and Methods section, after information on the source of weather data.

Figure 8: Please, check the unit of the coefficient of thermal diffusivity, I have doubts, if it is correct!

Figure 9: the caption of this fiigure shoul be placed at the same page, as figure itself. Please, check it at the final preparation of the paper.

4. Discussion

Lines 214-218: This paragraph fits better to introduction than to discussion!

Line 233:Please, add figure number in parethesis).

Line 274: Do authors obseve trend regarding snow cover? Does it increase, or decrease, as average, in last decades?

Lines 307-309: Please, add reference supporting this statement.

Lines 323-328: Please, add a reference on secondary salinization of alas soils and mention , what anthropogenic factors may cause it.

5. Conclusions

At the end of Discussion (lines 322-334) the authors wrote on negative aspects of reassumption of thermokarst process due to grazing, but in conclusion they positive effect of moderate grazing on soil organisms. I suggest to add some phrases balancing negative and positive aspects of grazing, and add similar to abstract.

 

 

Author Response

Hello dear reviewer!

Thank you for viewing, commenting, and editing our article. we send responses to your comments.

Sincerely, the authors of this article.

Author Response File: Author Response.pdf

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