Vertical and longitudinal variations in plant communities of drawdown zone of a monsoonal riverine reservoir in South Korea
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Background: The plant communities within reservoir drawdown zones are ecologically important as they provide a range of ecosystem services such as stabilizing the shoreline, improving water quality, enhancing biodiversity, and mitigating climate change. The aim of the study was therefore to identify the major environmental factors affecting these plant communities within the drawdown zone of the Soyangho Reservoir in South Korea, which experiences a monsoonal climate, and thereafter to (1) elucidate the plant species responses and (2) compare the soil seedbank composition along main environmental gradients. Results: Two main environmental gradients affecting the plant community structure were identified within the drawdown zone; these were a vertical and longitudinal gradient. On the vertical dimension, a hydrological gradient of flood/exposure, the annual-dominated plant community near the water edge changed to a perennial-dominated community at the highest elevation. On the longitudinal dimension from the dam to the upstream, plant species composition changed from an upland forest-edge community to a lowland riverine community, and this was correlated with slope degree, soil particle size, and soil moisture content. Simultaneously, the composition of the soil seedbank was separated along the vertical gradient of the drawdown zone, with mainly annuals near the water edge and some perennials at higher elevations. The species composition similarity between the seedbank and extant vegetation was greater in the annual communities at low elevation than in the perennial communities at higher elevation. Conclusions: The structures of plant community and soil seedbank in the drawdown zone of a monsoonal riverine reservoir were changed first along the vertical and secondly along the longitudinal gradients. The soil seedbank could play an important role on the vegetation regeneration after the disturbances of flood/exposure in the drawdown zone. These results indicate that it is important to understand the vertical and longitudinal environmental gradients affecting shoreline plant community structure and the role of soil seedbanks on the rapid vegetation regeneration for conserving and restoring the drawdown zone of a monsoonal reservoir.
Is part ofJournal of Ecology and Environment, 2019, vol. 43, article number 27
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Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as cc-by (c) Cho, Hyunsuk et al., 2019
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