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Shifting patterns in fine root distribution of four xerophytic species across soil structural gradients and years of growth
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  • Hui Hu,
  • Wei Kai Bao,
  • Long Huang,
  • Fanglan Li
Hui Hu
Chengdu Institute of Biology

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Wei Kai Bao
Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
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Long Huang
Chengdu Institute of Biology
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Fanglan Li
Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
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1. Fine root distribution influences the potential for resource acquisition in soil profiles, which defines how plants interact with local soil environments; however, a deep understanding of how fine root vertical distribution varies with soil structural variations and across plant ages is lacking. 2. We subjected four xerophytic species native to an arid valley of China, Artemisia vestita, Bauhinia brachycarpa, Sophora davidii, and Cotinus szechuanensis, to increasing rock fragment content (RFC) treatments (0%, 25%, 50%, and 75%, v v-1) in an arid environment and measured fine root vertical profiles over four years of growth. 3. Fine root depth and biomass of woody species increased with increasing RFC, but the extent of increase declined with plant age. Increasing RFC also increased the degree of interannual decreases in fine root diameter. The limited supply of soil resources in coarse soils explained the increases in rooting depth and variations in the pattern of fine root profiles across RFC. Fine root depth and biomass of the subshrub species (A. vestita) in soil profiles decreased with the increase in RFC and plant age, showing an opposite pattern from the other three woody species. 4. Within species, the annual increase in fine root biomass varied with RFC, which led to large interannual differences in the patterns of fine root profiles. Capacity of younger or subshrub plants to cope with soil environmental changes were greater than the older or shrub plants. These results provide insights into the limitations of soil resources in dry and rocky environments, and have management implications for degraded agroforest ecosystem.
16 May 2023Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
18 May 2023Submission Checks Completed
18 May 2023Assigned to Editor
23 May 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned
25 Jun 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
28 Jun 2023Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
26 Aug 20231st Revision Received
28 Aug 2023Assigned to Editor
28 Aug 2023Submission Checks Completed
28 Aug 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
29 Aug 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned
23 Oct 2023Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
21 Nov 20232nd Revision Received
21 Nov 2023Assigned to Editor
21 Nov 2023Submission Checks Completed
21 Nov 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending