[Experimental] List of manuscripts available for review volunteers
1 manuscript available for review volunteers
November 9, 2017
Grazing exclusion is one of most efficient approaches to restore degraded grasslands but this practice may have negative effects on the restoration of species diversity. Species diversity can provide information about the factors driving present and future community structure. However, diversity patterns emerging as a result of different ecological processes are poorly understood between grazed and fenced grasslands, especially in harsh, desert environments. Here, six plots were established in a desert steppe ecosystems in northern China and soil properties and species diversity were examined under grazed and fenced conditions. Three models were used to describe the species-area curve (SAR): the logistic model, the exponential model and the power model. Variograms applied to examine the spatial characteristics of diversity. Variation partitioning and Null models used to determine the relative contributions of different processes. Results showed that species richness, abundance and Shannon diversity were found to respond to sampling unit in a dissimilar way both inside and outside of the exclusion. Grazing exclusion had a significant impact on the species richness- area curves. For both inside and outside of the exclusion, fine scale effects (around 1 m) were dominant and strong spatial autocorrelations in the diversity variables existed. After grazing exclusion, the spatial heterogeneity declined for species richness, increased for abundance and did not change for the Shannon diversity, the ecological processes were more complex and competitive exclusion may play a significant role in reducing richness, the important of deterministic processes (environmental filtering) decreased while the contribution of an undetermined component increased. Our results suggest that management of these ecosystems should take into account the impact of grazing exclusion on species diversity and incorporate fine scale assembly processes to maximize species diversity in semi-arid regions, especially when manipulating processes that reduce dominant species, introduce new species, and promote environmental heterogeneity.

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