ISSN : 2287-8327
Background: We sought to understand the relationship between the seed bank and vegetation in abandoned rice paddies in South Korea, in order to guide management of these sites. We investigated the floristic composition and species richness of the soil seed bank and ground vegetation in former paddies along three seral gradients (wet meadow, young forest, and mature forest) in Gwangneung Forest Biosphere Reserve. Results: Seed bank samples contained 59 species, of which the dominant families were Cyperaceae, Gramineae, and Polygonaceae. Species richness and seedling density (59 taxa and 19,121 germinants from all samples) were high. Carex spp. (11, 921 germinants) were the dominant taxa. The species composition in the seed bank changed gradually as the land transitioned from wet meadow to mature forest. Sørensen’s index of similarity between above- and below-ground vegetation was 29.3% for wet meadow, 10.8% for young forest, and 2.1% for mature forest. Germinant density also declined, with 10, 256 germinants for wet meadow, 6445 germinants for young forest, and 2420 germinants for mature forest. Conclusions: Changes in aboveground environment and life history traits such as amphicarpic plants, likely affect the composition of soil seed bank species. Abandoned paddy fields may be good sites for restoration of wetland forest and conservation of wetland habitat. Some intervention may be required to promote the recovery of a natural species assemblage.
Backgrounds: In arid grasslands, wells are subject to heavy trampling and grazing pressure, which can increase vulnerability to local land degradation. To investigate trampling and grazing, we surveyed plant communities at three well sites in the desert steppe of Mongolia, using 1600-m line transects from the wells. The sites (Bshrub, Sshrub, and shrubL) differed by concomitant shrub type (big shrub, small shrub, and shrub-limited) and livestock pressure (light, medium, and heavy). A plant classification scheme based on edibility and morphology (rosette or creeping type) was used to separate grazing and trampling effects on plant communities. Results: Edible plants were dominant at all sites but a fraction of grazing- and trampling-tolerant plants increased in the order Bshrub, Sshrub, and shrubL, following livestock pressure. Clear transition zones from inedible to edible plant groups were recognized but at different locations and ranges among the sites. Trampling-tolerant plants explained 90% of inedible plants at Sshrub with camels and horses, but grazing-tolerant plants prevailed (60%) at shrubL with the largest livestock number. Plant coverage increased significantly along the transects at Bshrub and Sshrub but showed no meaningful change at shrubL. Herbaceous plant biomass showed significant positive and negative trends at Bshrub and shrubL, respectively. Conclusions: Both grazing and trampling can produce larger fractions of inedible plants; in this, camel and horses can have considerable effects on desert-steppe plant communities through trampling.
Background: Juniperus chinensis L. populations are distributed locally on several areas including coastal cliffs which are difficult to access in the central eastern Korea. Wild populations inhabit relatively barren environments such as rocky areas and cliffs, which are very sensitive to even minor environmental disturbances including artificial interventions and natural disturbances, and thus demonstrate great fluctuations in the population size and density. This study aims to analyze the genetic diversity, differentiation, and genetic structure of each population in order to provide useful data required to establish a substantial conservation strategy of J. chinensis. Results: The genetic diversity of J. chinensis at the population level (P =78.7%, h = 0.282, S.I. = 0.420) was somewhat higher compared with those measured in the same genus, Juniperus. The genetic differentiation degree among nine populations established naturally in central eastern Korea was 11.50% and that among sub-populations within the same area was 5.52%. On the other hand, genetic variation of individuals within the populations was 82.93%. But frequency of the main allele was different among loci. In particular, fixation of allele frequency and occurrence of rare allele in the highly isolated population suggest a likelihood that genetic drift would occur in populations of this plant. As the result of analysis on the genetic structure of nine populations, nearby populations and isolated populations tended to form separate clusters from each other as the hypothetical number of clusters (K) increase. Conclusions: This result implies that if the population size of J. chinensis is reduced due to environmental change and artificial and/or natural disturbances in the future, it could affect negatively on the genetic diversity of the plant species. In order to maintain and conserve genetic diversity of J. chinensis, ecological network, which can help genetic exchange among the local populations, should be prepared, and conservation strategies in situ as well as ex situ are also required with continuous monitoring.
Background: Cakile edentula (Bigelow) Hook. is a successful invader that has been propagating globally. In Korea, Cakile edentula was found in 2008 for the first time, in the east coast of Korean peninsula. Based on site surveys conducted thereafter, Cakile edentula has propagated in the east coast from Goseong to Jeongdongjin, Gangneung and in the west coast of city of Hwaseong of Gyeonggi-do Province, and Taeangun County of Chungcheongnam-do Province. Results: Cakile edentula has infiltrated into four different vegetation communities (syntaxa) (Calystegio soldanellae-Salsoletum komarovii Ohba, Miyawakiet Tx.1967; Elymo-caricetum Kobomugi Miyawaki 1967; Carex pumila; and Calystegia soldanella) belonging to phytosociological classes of saltwort (barilla) and coastal glehnia. Cakile edentula competes with dominant species such as the saltwort (barilla) and beach morning glory, causing qualitative changes in species composition. It also affects local ecosystems through its competition with digenous species, causing destruction of the traditional landscape. Conclusions: However, competition of Cakile edentula with indigenous species and the resulting replacement of such species are limitedly reported. Potential competitors with Cakile edentula have not been found yet. In Northeast Asia, qualitative changes realized in local ecosystems due to invasion of Cakile edentula are significantly noticeable. These necessitate proper controls for this invasive alien species to protect and preserve coastal dune areas.
Background: This study investigated the variation of soil organic carbon in four land cover types: natural and mixed forest, cultivated land, Eucalyptus plantation and open bush land. The study was conducted in the Birr watershed of the upper Blue Nile (‘Abbay’) river basin. Methods: The data was subjected to a two-way of ANOVA analysis using the general linear model (GLM) procedures of SAS. Pairwise comparison method was also used to assess the mean difference of the land uses and depth levels depending on soil properties. Total of 148 soil samples were collected from two depth layers: 0–10 and 10–20 cm. Results: The results showed that overall mean soil organic carbon stock was higher under natural and mixed forest land use compared with other land use types and at all depths (29.62 ± 1.95 Mg C ha− 1), which was 36.14, 28.36, and 27.63% more than in cultivated land, open bush land, and Eucalyptus plantation, respectively. This could be due to greater inputs of vegetation and reduced decomposition of organic matter. On the other hand, the lowest soil organic carbon stock under cultivated land could be due to reduced inputs of organic matter and frequent tillage which encouraged oxidation of organic matter. Conclusions: Hence, carbon concentrations and stocks under natural and mixed forest and Eucalyptus plantation were higher than other land use types suggesting that two management strategies for improving soil conditions in the watershed: to maintain and preserve the forest in order to maintain carbon storage in the future and to recover abandoned crop land and degraded lands by establishing tree plantations to avoid overharvesting in natural forests.