Journal of Resources and Ecology ›› 2012, Vol. 3 ›› Issue (3): 236-242.doi: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2012.03.006

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Species Richness and Diversity of Alpine Grasslands on the Northern Tibetan Plateau:Effects of Grazing Exclusion and Growing Season Precipitation

WU Jianshuan1,2, ZHANG Xianzhou1, SHEN Zhenxi1, SHI Peili1, YU Chengqun1, SONG Minghua3, LI Xiaojia4   

  1. 1 Lhasa Plateau Ecosystem Research Station, Key Laboratory of Ecosystem Network Observation and Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China;
    3 Key Laboratory of Ecosystem Network Observation and Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    4 College of Geographical Science, Inner Mongolia Normal University, Hohhot 010022, China
  • Received:2012-02-12 Revised:2012-05-15 Online:2012-09-30 Published:2012-09-27
  • Supported by:

    National Key Technology Research and Development Program (No.2010BAE00739 &2007BAC06B01), National Natural Science Foundation of China (No.41171044) and Strategic Priority Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Climate Change:Carbon Budget and Relevant Issues (No.XDA05060700).

Abstract: Species richness and diversity indices (Shannon-Wiener index, Simpson dominance index and Pielou evenness index) in alpine grassland ecosystems (alpine meadow, alpine steppe and desert steppe) under grazing-excluded and freely grazed sites were investigated along the Northern Tibetan Plateau Alpine Grassland Transect during summer 2009 and 2010.We found that species richness and diversity have not been significantly altered by short-term grazing exclusion since 2006 at vegetation and regional scales.Species richness and diversity were mainly driven by growing season precipitation (GSP), which accounted for over 87% of the total variation observed.Species richness and diversity at grazing-excluded and freely grazed sites appear to respond to growing season precipitation in parallel.Species richness exponentially increased with GSP while diversity indices showed positively linear relationships with GSP.This indicates that GSP on the Northern Tibetan Plateau is crucial in regulating species richness and diversity and should be taken into account in future studies on alpine grassland conservation.

Key words: species diversity, species richness, grazing exclusion, growing season precipitation, alpine grasslands, Northern Tibetan Plateau