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Seed persistence in the soil on eroded slopes in the hilly-gullied Loess Plateau region, China

  • Ning Wang (a1) (a2), Ju-Ying Jiao (a1), Yan-Feng Jia (a1) (a2) and Dong-Li Wang (a1)


The soil seed-bank is an important component of vegetation dynamics. Its presence affects both ecosystem resistance and resilience. A persistent seed-bank is especially important in disturbed habitats and harsh environments. In the hilly-gullied Loess Plateau region, serious soil erosion causes decreases in soil water capacity and constrains vegetation recolonization. A stable and long-term persistent soil seed-bank is necessary for natural vegetation recolonization. We used an integrated measure of the depth distribution of seeds in the soil and the seasonal dynamics of soil seed-banks to analyse the persistence of seeds in soil and to investigate the correlation of seed longevity with seed size/shape and the species' life history. The results showed a significant tendency for small seeds and seeds of annuals/biennials to persist longer in soil than large seeds and seeds of perennials. However, seed shape was not related to persistence. The main dominant speciesArtemisia scoparia, Lespedeza davurica, Heteropappus altaicus, Stipa bungeana, Artemisia gmelinii, and Bothriochloa ischaemun in the different successional stages in this region can form a persistent and stable soil seed-bank. The pioneer species A. scoparia is especially significant because it can form a large, long-term, persistent seed-bank. These species can play a role in the recolonization of the eroded abandoned slope lands by vegetation.


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Seed Science Research
  • ISSN: 0960-2585
  • EISSN: 1475-2735
  • URL: /core/journals/seed-science-research
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