Abstracts on Global Climate Change
       

Oct 2006

Aquatic plants diversity in arid zones of Northwest China: patterns, threats and conservation

Li, ZQ Yu, D Xiong, W Wang, D

BIODIVERSITY AND CONSERVATION 15:11 3417-3444

We investigated aquatic plant diversity by conducting the field investigation and collecting the published data in the arid regions of Northwest China. Two hundred and twenty four taxa of vascular aquatic plants representing 64 genera and 34 families occur in this area, 8.48% of which are endemic. Among these, 1 genus and 6 species were new state records and 1 family, 9 genera and 29 species were new area records. Typhaceae, Potamogetonaceae, Juncaginaceae and Haloragaceae were the most frequent families (considering relative frequency of occurrence), whereas Cyperaceae, Potamogetonaceae and Ranuncnlaceae are the most species-rich. The most frequent genera were Typha, Potamogeton, and Triglochin, and the most species-rich were Potamogeton, Eleocharis and Scirpus. The most frequent species are Triglochin palustre, Myriophyllum spicatum, Potamogeton pectinatus and Typha angustifolia. Aquatic plants diversity is distributed unevenly in the region. The maximum species occurs in Dzungarian basin while the least species in Hexi corridor. The aquatic flora in arid zone of China is not distinctive although some endemic species are found, most species are widely distributed. Local aquatic plants diversity can be influenced by many factors such as hydrological alteration, habitat loss, over-grazing, high human population pressure, global climate change, an inappropriate economic development policy. Among them, the largest threat to aquatic plants biodiversity may be habitat loss due to hydrological alteration. In order to conserve the aquatic plants biological resources and biodiversity in this region, some strategies and measures must be suggested including strengthening scientific research and biodiversity education in the local people, balancing economic development and ecological conservation, and enhancing governmental assistance and subsidy to the local residents.

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