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Effects of soil seed bank on vegetation restoration in abandoned croplands on the hilly-gullied Loess Plateau

BAI Wen-juan~(1,2);JIAO Ju-ying~(1,3);ZHANG Zhen-guo~(1,2).1 State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on the Loess Plateau,Institute of Soil and Water Conservation,Chinese Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Water Resources,Yangling,Shaanxi Province,712100,P.R.China;2 Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences,Beijing,100049,P.R.China;3 Institute of Soil and Water Conservation,Northwest A & F University,Yangling,Shaanxi Province,712100,P.R.China.  
In order to identify the potential significance of soil seed bank for vegetation restoration,the authors studied the influences of density of soil seed bank, soil water content,soil nutrient,topography and time on vegetation community in abandoned croplands on the hilly-gullied Loess Plateau and quantified the contribution of the soil seed bank to vegetation restoration through field survey,lab experiments and canonical variate analysis.The results show that the most important variables were soil water content,extractable P,soil seed bank density and slope aspect.Soil seed bank explained 32.1% of the standing vegetation community variation alone.The potential of vegetation restoration was limited and restoration process was slow because the dominant species of soil seed bank in abandoned cropland was Artemisia scoparia.It is recommended to transplant late successional species such as Bothriochloa ischaemum,Artemisia gmelinii, Stipa bungeana into abandoned croplands to accelerate vegetation succession and prevent soil loss on the hilly-gullied Loess Plateau.
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