Journal of Ecology and Environment

pISSN 2287-8327 eISSN 2288-1220

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  • Research 2022-01-14 JEE 46:02

    Impact of parthenium weed invasion on plants and their soil seedbank in a subtropical grassland, central Nepal

    Jyoti Khatri-Chettri1 , Maan Bahadur Rokaya2,3 and Bharat Babu Shrestha1*

    Abstract : Background: Parthenium hysterophorus L. (Asteraceae; hereafter Parthenium) is an invasive alien species of global significance because of its’ negative ecological and socioeconomic impacts. This species is spreading rapidly from lowland Tarai to Middle Mountain regions in Nepal. In the present study, we analyzed the impacts of Parthenium on plant community composition including their soil seedbank in subtropical grasslands located in central Nepal. Data was collected in a 10 m long transects passing through areas of high (> 90% cover), medium (40%-60%) and low (< 10%) levels of Parthenium cover using a plot of 1 m2. Altogether, we sampled 90 plots in 30 transects. Seedling emergence method was used to estimate soil seedbank density in the soil samples (0-10 cm depth) collected from the plots with high Parthenium cover.Results: There was no significant difference in the plant species richness at different levels of Parthenium invasion whereas there was a significant change in the species composition of above ground flora due to Parthenium invasion. There was also a significant difference in species composition between soil seedbank and aboveground flora in the highly invaded plots. Parthenium was the most dominant in soil seedbank, contributing 65% to the total soil seedbank.Conclusions: Our study suggests that Parthenium has considerable negative impact on the native grassland flora, and the dominance of Parthenium in the soil seedbank means there is a challenge for its management. It also suggests the need of monitoring the soil seedbank dynamics while managing Parthenium weed.

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  • Review 2022-01-21 JEE 46:03

    Roles of flower scent in bee–flower mediations: a review

    Daniel Bisrat1,2* and Chuleui Jung1,3

    Abstract : Background: Bees and flowering plants associations were initially began during the early Cretaceous, 120 million years ago. This coexistence has led to a mutual relationship where the plant serves as food and in return, the bee help them their reproduction. Animals pollinate about 75% of food crops worldwide, with bees as the world’s primary pollinator. In general, bees rely on flower scents to locate blooming flowers as visual clue is limited and also their host plants from a distance. In this review, an attempt is made to collect some relevant 107 published papers from three scientific databases, Google Scholar, Scopus, and Web of Science database, covering the period from 1959 to 2021.Results: Flowering plants are well documented to actively emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs). However, only a few of them are important for eliciting behavioral responses in bees. In this review, fifty-three volatile organic compounds belonging to different class of compounds, mainly terpenoids, benzenoids, and volatile fatty acid derivatives, is compiled here from floral scents that are responsible for eliciting behavioral responses in bees. Bees generally use honest floral signals to locate their host plants with nectar and pollen-rich flowers. Thus, honest signaling mechanism plays a key role in maintaining mutualistic plant?pollinator associations.Conclusions: Considering the fact that floral scents are the primary attractants, understanding and identification of VOCs from floral scent in plant-pollinator networks are crucial to improve crop pollination. Interestingly, current advances in both VOCs scent gene identification and their biosynthetic pathways make it possible to manipulate particular VOCs in plant, and this eventually may lead to increase in crop productivity.

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  • Research 2022-03-18 JEE 46:08

    Local and regional steppe vegetation palatability at grazing hotspot areas in Mongolia

    Narantsetsegiin Amartuvshin1 , Jaebeom Kim2 , Nanghyun Cho2 , Bumsuk Seo3 and Sinkyu Kang2*

    Abstract : Background: Climate and livestock grazing are key agents in determining current Mongolian steppe vegetation communities. Together with plant coverage or biomass, palatability of steppe community is regarded as a useful indicator of grassland degradation, in particular, at grazing hotspots in arid and semi-arid grasslands. This study analyzed relationships between livestock grazing pressure and steppe vegetation palatability at three summer pastures with different aridity (dry, xeric, and mesic) and livestock numbers (1,100, 1,800, and 4,100 sheep units, respectively). At each site, it was surveyed coverage, biomass, and species composition of different palatability groups (i.e., palatable [P], impalatable [IP], and trampling-tolerant [TT]) along a 1-km transect from grazing hotspots (i.e., well) in every July from 2015 to 2018.Results: In results, total vegetation coverage increased with wetness, 7 times greater at mesic site than dry one in averages (33.1% vs. 4.5%); biomass was 3 times higher (47.1 g m-2 vs. 15.7 g m-2). Though P was the dominant palatability group, the importance of IP in total coverage increased with aridity from mesic (0.6%) to dry (40.2%) sites. Whereas, TT increased with livestock numbers across sites. Locally, IP was observed more frequently near the wells and its spatial range of occurrence becomes farther along the transects with aridity across sites from mesic (< 100 m) to dry (< 700 m from the well).Conclusions: Our results showed that the importance of IP and its spatial distribution are different at both local and regional scales, indicating that the palatability parameters are sensitive to discern balance between selective-grazing demand and climate-driven foraging supply in Mongolian rangelands.

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  • Research 2022-02-10 JEE 46:04

    Biological soil crusts impress vegetation patches and fertile islands over an arid pediment, Iran

    Adel Sepehr1* , Asma Hosseini1, Kamal Naseri2 and Atoosa Gholamhosseinian1

    Abstract : Background: Plant vegetation appears in heterogeneous and patchy forms in arid and semi-arid regions. In these regions, underneath the plant patches and the empty spaces between them are covered by biological soil crusts (moss, lichen, cyanobacteria, and fungi). Biological soil crusts lead to the formation and development of fertile islands in between vegetation patches via nitrogen and carbon fixation and the permeation of runoff water and nutrients in the soil.Results: The present study has investigated the association of biological soil crusts, the development of fertile islands, and the formation of plant patches in part of the Takht-e Soltan protected area, located in Khorasan Razavi Province, Iran. Three sites were randomly selected as the working units and differentiated based on their geomorphological characteristics to the alluvial fan, hillslope, and fluvial terrace landforms. Two-step systematic random sampling was conducted along a 100-meter transect using a 5 m2 plot at a 0–5 cm depth in three repetitions. Fifteen samplings were carried out at each site with a total of 45 samples taken. The results showed that the difference in altitude has a significant relationship with species diversity and decreases with decreasing altitude. Results have revealed that the moisture content of the site, with biocrust has had a considerable increase compared to the other sites, helping to form vegetation patterns and fertile islands.Conclusions: The findings indicated that biological crusts had impacted the allocation of soil parameters. They affect the formation of plant patches by increasing the soil’s organic carbon, nitrogen, moisture and nutrient content provide a suitable space for plant growth by increasing the soil fertility in the inter-patch space.

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  • Abstract : Background: Due to the rapidly changing climatic conditions, South Korea faces the grand challenge of exotic species. With the increasing human movement, the influx of alien species to novel regions is prevalent across the globe. The latest research suggests that it is easy to prevent the introduction and establishment of alien species rather than controlling their spread and eradication. Like other countries, the Korean Ministry of Environment released a list (in 2018) of 45 potential risky exotic fish species considered likely to be invasive candidate fish species if they ever succeed in entering the Korean aquatic ecosystems.Results: The investigation into the invasion suitability traits showed that potential risky fish species could utilize those features in becoming invasive once they arrive in the Korean aquatic ecosystems. If the novel species establish viable populations, they are likely to incur higher economic costs, damage the native aquatic fauna and flora, and jeopardize the already perilled species. Furthermore, they can damage the installed infrastructure, decline overall abundance and biodiversity, and disturb the ecosystem services. Here we reviewed the list of fish species concerning their family, native origin, preferred aquatic biomes, main food items, current status in Korea, and potential threats to humans and the ecosystems. Data shows that most species are either already designated as invasive in the neighboring counties, including Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, and China, or originate from these countries. Such species have a higher climate match with the Korean territories.Conclusions: Therefore, it is exceptionally essential to study their most critical features and take regulatory measures to restrict their entry. The incoming fish species must be screened before letting them in the country in the future. The regulatory authorities must highlight the threatening traits of such species and strictly monitor their entrance. Detailed research is required to explore the other species, especially targeting the neighboring countries fish biodiversity, having demonstrated invasive features and matching the Korean climate.

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  • Research 2022-01-07 JEE 46:01

    Population dynamics of the red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) with changes in the population dependent carrying capacity in Republic of Korea

    Yunju Wi1 , Gyujin Oh1 , Hee-Jin Kang2 , Ha-Cheol Sung3 , Seung-ju Cheon2 and Hong-Sung Jin1*

    Abstract : Background: In this study, we proposed that the population dynamics of non-native red-eared sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans) depends on the species’ habitat extension and survivorship. We used a logistic equation with time-dependent habitat carrying capacity. In detail, the present carrying capacity depends on the red-eared slider population of the previous year. Anthropogenic activities such as the abandonment of previously captive red-eared sliders or the release due to religion customs would supply new habitats to the species. Therefore we assumed that anthropogenic spread increases the habitat carrying capacity. Based on the urbanization increase rate of 3% in Korea from 1980 to 2000, we assumed an annual spread of 3% to simulate the population dynamics of the red-eared slider. In addition, the effect on the population of an increase of natural habitats due to migration was simulated.Results: The close relationship between the distributions of non-native red-eared sliders and of urbanized areas demonstrates that urbanization plays an important role in providing new habitats for released individuals. Depending on the survivorship, the population of the red-eared slider in Korea increased 1.826 to 3.577 times between 1980 and 2000. To control population growth, it is necessary to reduce carrying capacity by reducing habitat expansion through prohibition of release into the wild ecosystem and careful managements of the wetland or artificial ponds. Changes in the habitat carrying capacity showed that the population fluctuated every other year. However, after several years, it converged to a consistent value which depended on the survivorship. Further, our results showed that if red-eared sliders expand their habitat by natural migration, their population can increase to a greater number than when they have a 99% survivorship in a fixed habitat.Conclusions: Further introductions of red-eared sliders into wetlands or artificial ponds should be prohibited and managed to prevent future spread of the species. Moreover, it is important to reduce the species’ survivorship by restoring disturbed ecosystems and maintaining healthy ecosystems.

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  • Research 2022-04-18 JEE 46:11

    Population structure and regeneration of Zanthoxylum armatum DC. in Salyan, Nepal

    Nirmala Phuyal1,2* , Pramod Kumar Jha1 , Pankaj Prasad Raturi3 and Sangeeta Rajbhandary1

    Abstract : Background: Zanthoxylum armatum is one of the 30 prioritized medicinal plants for economic development of Nepal with a high trade value. Understanding the ecology of individual species is important for conservation and cultivation purposes. However, relation of ecological factors on the distribution and populations of Z. armatum in Nepal remain unknown. To address this knowledge gap, an attempt has been made to study the population structure, distribution, and regeneration potentiality of Z. armatum. Vegetation sampling was conducted at six different localities of Salyan district along the elevation range of 1,000 m to 2,000 m.Results: Altogether 50 plant species belonging to 44 genera under 34 families were found to be associated with Z. armatum. Significantly higher species richness was found at Rim (1,400–1,700 m) and Chhatreshwori (1,800–2,000 m) and lower at Kupinde (1,600–1,800 m). The highest population density of Z. armatum was at Kupinde (1,600–1,800 m) with a total of 1,100 individuals/ha. and the lowest at Chhatreshwori (1,800–2,000 m) with 740 individuals/ha. Based on the A/F value (Whitford index), it can be said that Z. armatum has random distribution in the study area. The plants were categorized into seedlings, saplings and adults based on plant height and the status of natural regeneration category determined. The regeneration potentiality of Z. armatum in the study area was fair with the average seedlings and saplings densities of 150 and 100 individuals/ha. Respectively. A Shannon–Weinner index mean value of 2.8 was obtained suggesting high species diversity in the study area.Conclusions: The natural distribution and regeneration of Z. armatum is being affected in the recent years due to anthropogenic disturbances. Increasing market demand and unsustainable harvesting procedures are posing serious threat to Z. armatum. Thus, effective conservation and management initiatives are most important for conserving the natural population of Z. armatum in the study area.

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  • Abstract : Background: Korean white pine (Pinus koraiensis) is a major commercial species, and the importance of the oak trees (Quercus spp.) is increasing due to various factors such as environmental and ecological values. However, more information is required to clearly understand the growth characteristics of these species especially regarding thinning intensity. This study was performed to provide the basic information to develop the silvicultural guideline and field manual by analyzing tree and stand characteristics in line with thinning intensity in the Korean white pine plantation and oak-dominated natural deciduous forest.Results: Diameter at breast height (DBH) and volume changes by the thinning intensity in the Korean white pine plantation were significantly different from those in the oak-dominated deciduous natural forest. In particular, DBH distribution in the pine stand appeared that there were more large diameter trees as the thinning intensity was higher. DBH periodic annual increment (PAI) of the pine stand was higher as the thinning intensity was stronger and the growth period was shorter. This trend was similarly shown in the natural deciduous forest, but the amount of PAI was smaller than in pine stand. The volume PAI after thinning was not decreased over time. In each stand type, the PAI tended to be lower as stand density was higher. The volume PAI in the pine stand was significantly higher than that in the oak-dominated natural deciduous forest. Dead trees occurred the most in the unthinned plots of each stand type, and those were higher in the natural deciduous forest. Ingrowth trees were observed only in the natural deciduous forest, and its distribution was the lowest in unthinned plots; Korean white pine as ingrowth occurred the most frequently among many tree species.Conclusions: Different effects of thinning treatment on DBH and volume PAI, mortality, and ingrowth were observed for each stand. With respect to forest growth, Korean white pine plantation was superior to the oak-dominated natural deciduous forest. The results of this study offer fundamental information for the development of silvicultural guidelines for Korean white pine plantations and oak-dominated natural deciduous forests in Korea.

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  • Abstract : Background: Many investigations on phytoplankton from the Nakdong River carried out. However, since the weirs were constructed, only changes in phytoplankton biomass and dominant species have been restrictively studied in phytoplankton investigations in the Nakdong River. Added to this, any investigation on the phytoplankton flora has not been done in the Nakdong River. The aim of this study is to elucidate the characteristics of phytoplankton communities in the Nakdong River with the weirs built in it.Results: We observed a total of 103 taxa of Euglenophytes belonging to 8 genera from middle-lower part of the Nakdong River. The genus Trachelomonas was the most abundant group making up 40 taxa, followed Lepocinclis (20), Phacus (17), Strombomonas (14), Euglena (5), Colacium (3), Monomorphina (3) and Menoideum (1). Among them, a total of 22 taxa including Colacium (1), Lepocinclis (8), Phacus (4), Strombomonas (4) and Trachelomonas (5) were reported for the first time in Korea, and 86 taxa including those new to Korea were first recorded in the Nakdong River. All the species are illustrated with photomicrographs, and new to Korean species briefly discussed with regard to their taxonomy together with photomicrographs.Conclusions: The present study, a total of 22 taxa including one species of Colacium, 8 taxa of Lepocinclis, 4 taxa of Phacus, 4 taxa of Strombomonas and 5 taxa of Trachelomonas were reported for the first time in Korea, and 86 taxa including those new to Korea were first recorded in the Nakdong River.

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  • Research 2022-03-03 JEE 46:06

    Prediction of potential spread areas of African swine fever virus through wild boars using Maxent model

    Sang Jin Lim1 , Hun Namgung2 , Nam Hyung Kim2 , Yeonsu Oh3* and Yung Chul Park2*

    Abstract : Background: In South Korea, African swine fever virus (ASFV) has spread among wild boars through Gangwon-do to Dangyang-gun, Chungcheongbuk-do on the southern border of Gangwon-do. To prevent the spread of ASFV to African swine fever (ASF)-free areas, it is necessary to identify areas with a high probability of finding ASFV-infected carcasses and to reduce the density of wild boars in those areas. In this study, we described the propagation trend of ASFV among wild boars, constructed the habitat suitability maps for ASFV-infected carcasses, and suggested areas with a high probability of finding ASFV- infected carcasses and an important route of ASFV transmission.Results: Despite the active quarantine policies in Korea to prevent the spread of ASFV through wild boars, there was no significant difference in the monthly average of number of ASFV-infected carcasses observed between 2020 and 2021. The ASFV-infected carcasses were found more in winter and spring (January to April). Since the first ASF outbreak in wild boars on October 2, 2019, the maximum width of ASFV-infected carcass distribution area was 222.7 km for about 26 months till November 20, 2021. The habitat suitability map, based on GPS coordinates of ASFV-infected wild boar carcasses, shows that highly detectable areas of ASFV-infected carcasses were sporadically dispersed in western and southwestern parts of Gangwon-do, and ranged from north to south of the province along the Baekdudaegan Mountains, whereas poorly detectable areas ranged along the north to the south in the middle parts of the province.Conclusions: Our suitability model, based on the GPS coordinates of ASFV-infected carcasses, identifies potential habitats where ASFV-infected carcasses are likely to be found and ponential routes where ASFV is likely to spread. Among ASF-free areas, the areas with high suitability predicted in this study should be given priority as survey areas to find ASFV- infected carcasses and hunting areas to reduce wild boar populations.

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Journal of Ecology and Environment

pISSN 2287-8327 eISSN 2288-1220