Influence of grazing exclusion on soil macro-invertebrate diversity in degraded sandy grassland (inner Mongolia, China)

Ren Tao Liu, Ha Lin Zhao, Xue Yong Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


In arid and semi-arid areas, heavy grazing combined with climate change cause land degradation (e.g., desertification). Grazing management is essential for ecosystem recovery and desertification control in these areas, including Northern China's Horqin Sandy Land. However, the recovery of soil faunal community during grazing exclusion is unknown. We examined plant and soil macro-invertebrate community structure together with soil properties in three treatments in a representative degraded Horqin sandy grassland: exclosure for 15 and 10 years (15EX and 10EX) and long-term continuous grazing (CG). The vegetation cover and height increased significantly and soil bulk density decreased significantly along the gradient from CG to 15EX, but there were no significant differences in soil pH, electrical conductivity, organic carbon and total nitrogen. Soil macro-invertebrate abundance, group richness and diversity increased along the gradient from CG to 15EX, with significant differences in invertebrate abundance and group richness between CG and 15EX; there was no significant differences between CG and 10EX. There were no significant differences in soil macro- invertebrate diversity and evenness between these three treatments. These results suggested that grazing exclusion for at least 15 years might be necessary for the recovery of these fauna. The vegetation height and the soil electrical conductivity, organic carbon, and total nitrogen determined the distribution and community structure of soil macro-invertebrates. Some faunal groups lived in specific habitats due to strong adaptation to different management practices. For example, the Thomisidae, Philodromidae, Salticidae, and Rhopalidae tended to live in habitats with tall vegetation. The Lygaeidae, Miridae, Teneberionidae, and Linyphiidae adapted to live in soil with low soil organic carbon and nitrogen (ungrazed grassland).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-385
Number of pages11
JournalPolish Journal of Ecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Community diversity
  • Exclosure
  • Grazing management
  • Horqin Sandy Land
  • Sandy g rassland
  • Soil macro-fauna


Dive into the research topics of 'Influence of grazing exclusion on soil macro-invertebrate diversity in degraded sandy grassland (inner Mongolia, China)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this