Because of human activity and dry condition of the sandland, degradation of local vegetation and desertification are quite severe . V, Heerlen, the Netherlands were added to each pot and mixed evenly with sand. Overall shrub species have a high degree of trampling resistance by morphological and mechanical modifications, and the effects of trampling do not depend on water availability. Small new shoots generated during the treatment period were not conducted as the main. We only measured the whole dry mass of the new shoots, including leaves and stems.
Aboveground shoots were packed in wet tissue to avoid turgor loss and taken to the lab to measure mechanical traits. Measurements On 20 June , all experimental plants were harvested. The short pipes were fixed tightly with tape and rope to the middle of the long pipe. Increasing water availability can increase allocation to stems, which may increase rigidity, height and diameter that are associated with resistance to trampling, and decrease allocation to roots, which may greatly increase the effects of trampling on the fixation of the root system known as anchorage strength of plants . Received Jul 21; Accepted Nov It is thus important to determine the extent to which trampling effects on plants are affected by water availability. And 3 What are the consequences of the observed shifts in traits for mechanical strength and flexibility at the stem level? Phenotypic responses of plant growth and morphology to trampling have received increasing attention  ,  ,  — . Stem stress avoidance through increased flexibility is then the only viable response for small or young plants. Caragana intermedia Kuanget Leguminosae and Hippophae rhamnoides L. Pipes were filled with concrete to obtain the appropriate weight. Conceived and designed the experiments: Trampling did not significantly affect leaf thickness Table 1 ; Fig. After another three months of growth, seedlings of similar sizes were transplanted to 6. V, Heerlen, the Netherlands were added to each pot and mixed evenly with sand. The load consisted of one long metal pipe and four short metal pipes. Asclepiadaceae and Hedysarum laeve Maxim. Trampling can directly cause tissue loss and damage and indirectly impose mechanical stress on plants  , . We calculated the minimum bending force F bend referring to bending the stem and the minimum lateral break force F break required to rupture the stem at its base. Stem length, vertical height from soil surface to the top of trampled plants, basal diameter and leaf thickness of main shoots were measured. However, the little work that has been done in this respect has focused mostly on grasses  —  ,  ,  ,  , and we know almost nothing about woody species . Details of calculations of these mechanical traits can be found in . Leguminosae are semi-shrubs  — . In the ecosystem where we concern, the grazing is mainly in a free way without specific location. Results Growth and Morphological Traits Trampling significantly reduced the main stem length in all species except of C. Trampling increased consistently stem diameter Table 1 ; Fig. Trampling was applied with a manually constructed load whose weight 6.
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