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Relationships among leaf traits and their expression in different vegetation zones in Yanhe River basin,Northwest China

GUO Ru;WEN Zhong-ming;WANG Hong-xia;QI De-hui;Research Center of Soil and Water Conservation and Ecological Environment,Chinese Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Education;University of Chinese Academy of Sciences;Institute of Soil and Water Conservation,Northwest A&F University;College of Resource and Environment,North-west A&F University;  
This article selected zonal plant communities as the research objects in different vegetation zones in Yanhe River basin.We measured six leaf traits of the dominant species and main accompanying species in each community,and then analyzed the relationships and their changes along with environmental gradients between these traits in order to understand the plant adaptation strategies to the environment changes.The results showed that the specific leaf area was significantly negatively correlated to leaf tissue density,area-based leaf nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations,and significantly positively correlated to mass-based leaf phosphorus concentration.Both the scaling relationships among these traits and plant life strategies were different among the three vegetation zones,the scaling-dependent relationship between leaf tissue density and specific leaf area was stronger in steppe and forest-steppe zones than in forest zone,but the correlations among area-based leaf nitrogen/phosphorus concentrations and specific leaf area and leaf tissue density were more significant in forest zone than in steppe zone.In the arid grassland and forest-steppe zone,plants give priority to defensive and stress resistance strategies,and in relatively moist nutrient-rich forest zone,plants give priority to fast growth and resource optimization allocation strategies.
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