Data from: Litter addition decreases plant diversity by suppressing seeding in a semi-arid grassland, Northern China
Zhang, Ang; Wan, Shiqiang (2019), Data from: Litter addition decreases plant diversity by suppressing seeding in a semi-arid grassland, Northern China, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.5dj3jg5
Plant community diversity is conducive to maintain the regional ecosystems stability and ecosystem services. Seed germination is one of the main ways to regulate plant diversity, owing to seedling recruitment as a basis for plant community renewal. However, the exact mechanism of how plant litter affects seedling recruitment and species richness is not yet fully understood. Therefore, a litter addition and removal experiment were established in a semiarid grassland to study the effects of plant litter on seedling recruitment and species richness from April to August in 2016 and 2017 in Northern China. The positive correlation between species richness and seedling recruitment indicated that a guarantee of seedling recruitment was the main precondition to protect species richness. Adding rather than removing litter significantly reduced species richness. Litter addition inhibited species richness by directly increasing mechanical damage or indirectly reducing photosynthetically active radiation and seedling recruitment. The results of this study are conducive to understand the evolutionary and regulatory mechanisms of community species richness and seedling recruitment in grassland ecosystems after adding or removing plant litter.