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Spatial patterns of vegetation and soil fertility along a grazing gradient in a desert steppe in Inner Mongolia, China

  • Author / Creator
    Lin, Yang
  • Spatial heterogeneities of vegetation and soil can strongly affect ecological processes in arid and semi-arid ecosystems. However, little is known about how those spatial patterns respond to grazing intensity in such systems. I studied how grazing intensity affect the spatial patterns of vegetation and soil nutrients at scales ranging from 0.1 to 18.7 m in a desert steppe in Inner Mongolia, China. Vegetation patches were more fragmented and homogeneous under higher grazing pressure. Heavy grazing also destroyed the spatial aggregation of plant species richness. Spatial heterogeneity of soil water and organic matter contents decreased along the gradient of increasing grazing intensity, while that of soil mineral N was first increased and then decreased along the grazing gradient. Both percent plant cover and power-law modeling could be used to indicate the risk of desertification associated with increasing grazing pressure.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2010-06
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R3N05N
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
    English
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
    Master's
  • Department
    • Department of Renewable Resources
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Dr. Scott Chang (Renewable Resources)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Dr. James Cahill (Biological Sciences)
    • Dr. Fangliang He (Renewable Resources)
    • Dr. Edward Bork (Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science)