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Gu R.,Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology | Gu R.,Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region Climate Center | Zhou W.,Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology | Bai M.,Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region Climate Center | And 3 more authors.
Shengtai Xuebao/ Acta Ecologica Sinica | Year: 2012

Phenology is the most intuitive signal of climate change. Changes in phenology reflect changes in climate and the natural environment. To both understand and manage the impacts of climate change on ecosystems we need to search for ways to forecast climate trends and for ways to mitigate climatic deterioration. We used statistical analysis, meteorological data and typical plant phenological periods in different grasslands to study the relationships between phenology and meteorology. We studied Kalimeris indica (L.) Sch. -Bip., Sarcozygium xanthoxylon Bunge, Stipa baicalensis Roshev and Leymus chinensis (Trin.) Tzvel. in meadow grasslands, typical grasslands and desert grasslands in Inner Mongolia from 1983 to 2009. First, the analysis considered the phenology of these plants of the grasslands of Inner Mongolia, looking at three stages, the return of green sprouts, the blossoming stage and the stage at which the plants became yellow and withered. Plants in different grasslands are responding differently to climate warming. When the average temperature in spring (March to May) increases by 1°C, the flowering period will be earlier by 7. 2, 4. 1, and 2. 5 days in typical grasslands, desert grasslands and meadow grasslands, respectively. Second, the phenological phases of these grassland plants are closely related to climate change. The date when green sprouts appear and blossoms form is significantly negatively correlated with the cumulative temperature in spring (March to May), and is positively correlated to daylength. These dates are also influenced by precipitation in different grasslands. The date of the yellow withered stage is negatively correlated with average monthly temperature before withering and yellowing in desert grassland and typical grassland. The date of the yellow withered stage is closely related to precipitation and daylength prior to withering and yellowing in meadow grasslands, but is not significantly related to temperature. Third, with climate warming, the growing period for K. indica has shortened. The growing period for S. xanthoxylon, S. baicalensis and L. chinensis has lengthened with the length of the growing period for S. baicalensis in typical grasslands increasing the most. The duration of the growing period in desert grasslands also increased while the growing period in meadow grasslands showed the least amount of lengthening.

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