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The vegetation N:P ratio stoichiometric is a driver of negative density dependence in a succession series of a semi-arid area
  • Xing Dong He,
  • Jinglei Zhang,
  • Xiangxiang Yang
Xing Dong He
Nankai University
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Jinglei Zhang
Nankai University
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Xiangxiang Yang
Nankai University
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Abstract

Plant negative density dependence is the result of interactions between plants themselves and between plants and the environment. We selected a succession series comprising early successional, mid-successional and late successional stages (Artemisia ordosica, Sophora alopecuroides and Stipa bungeana communities, respectively) in a semi-arid area. We investigated plant density and biomass and determined the nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) contents of each plant species in each of 225 quadrats, and we calculated the N and P contents of vegetation using biomass as a weighted coefficient. We found that the total plant density of the A. ordosica community increased with the increase in vegetation N:P ratio while the total plant density of the S. bungeana community decreased with the increase in vegetation N:P ratio, with the latter (late successional stage) community exhibiting negative density dependence. In the communities representing the early successional and mid-successional stages, the vertex coordinate of the quadratic function relationship between plant total density and vegetation N/P ratio was (16.6, 353.3); that is, if the N:P ratio of the vegetation was greater than 16.6, the community was characterized by negative density dependence. The analysis showed that the negative density dependence was due to P limitation. These findings reveal that the vegetation N:P ratio in a semi-arid region is the driver of negative density dependence.

Peer review status:IN REVISION

06 Mar 2020Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
07 Mar 2020Assigned to Editor
07 Mar 2020Submission Checks Completed
15 Mar 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
04 Apr 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
09 Apr 2020Editorial Decision: Revise Minor