Biodiversity Science ›› 2016, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (4): 421-430.doi: 10.17520/biods.2015300

Special Issue: Plant Diversity in the Dry Valleys of Southwest China

• Original Papers • Previous Article     Next Article

Comparison of plant species diversity and composition in the dry valleys of Yalong River and Dadu River: evaluating the effects of climate, topography and space

Jie Han1, Zehao Shen1, *(), Songlin Shi2, 3, Peihao Peng2   

  1. 1 Department of Ecology, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Key Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes of the Ministry of Education, Peking University, Beijing 100871.
    2 College of Tourism and Urban-rural Planning, Chengdu University of Technology, Chengdu 610058.
    3 State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100875
  • Received:2015-11-01 Accepted:2016-02-02 Online:2016-05-11
  • Shen Zehao

The vegetation of dry valleys is a suit of unique azonal ecosystems embedded in the Hengduan Mountains region of Southwest China, with the difference of plant communities between the valleys and the causal factors still elusive. In this study, we investigated the dry valleys of the Yalong River and the Dadu River and compared plant diversity. Different factors were found to impact the vegetation types between the two rivers. Elevation and topography (slope and aspect) impacted vegetation types of the Yalong River and mean annual precipitation impacted the Dadu River. Plant richness in the valleys of the two rivers decreased with greater mean annual temperature. From a north to south aspect, plant richness of the dry valley communities decreased in the Yalong River, while increased in the Dadu River. Richness of shrubs in both the Yalong River and the Dadu River were greater at increased slopes. The β diversity of plant community in the dry valleys of the Yalong River and the Dadu River was affected more by environmental than geographical distance. The effect of geographical isolation on the two rivers was approximately 5 times greater than the effect of geographical distance. This research fills the knowledge gap about plant diversity of dry valleys vegetation in the Yalong River and the Dadu River, and reference information for vegetation conservation in the dry valleys of the two rivers. In addition, it provides a practical method for the quantitative assessment of geographical isolation effect on regional biodiversity difference.

Key words: dry valley, plant diversity, vegetation types, geographical isolation

Fig. 1

Climate condition and the distribution of transect sites in dry valleys of the Yalong River and the Dadu River"

Fig. 2

The species-area curve for plant species in dry valleys of the Yalong River and the Dadu River"

Table 1

The mixed-effect model estimated for plant richness in dry valleys of the Yalong River and the Dadu River"

Mean annual temperature
River explanation
REML criterion
Shrub layer
雅砻江 The Yalong River -0.202** -0.747** 0.020* 92.10% 76.1
大渡河 The Dadu River -0.432** 1.005** 0.016*
Herb layer
雅砻江 The Yalong River -0.537** -0.687** - 92.20% 104.9
大渡河 The Dadu River -0.969** 1.451** -

Table 2

The features of community types in dry valleys of the Yalong River and the Dadu River (mean ± SD)"

群落类型 Community type 河流
Elevation (m)
Shrub density (/100 m2)
Herb density (/100 m2)
Vegetation type
Type A
The Dadu River
1,200 9 ± 4 41 ± 10 亚热带针阔叶混交林Coniferous and broadleaved mixed forest in subtropical
Type B
The Dadu River-the Yalong River
1,400 3 ± 1 19 ± 3 暖性落叶阔叶灌丛 Warm deciduous broadleaved shrub
Type C
The Yalong River
2,600 4 ± 2 21 ± 4 暖性落叶阔叶灌丛 Warm deciduous broadleaved shrub
Type D
The Yalong River
2,700 6 ± 3 26 ± 6 暖性落叶阔叶灌丛 Warm deciduous broadleaved shrub
Type E
The Yalong River
2,500 4 ± 1 25 ± 7 暖性落叶阔叶灌丛 Warm deciduous broadleaved shrub

Fig. 3

Diagram of TWINSPAN for community classification in dry valleys of the Yalong River and the Dadu River. (+) means it is positive relation with classification, (-) means it is negative relation with classification."

Fig. 4

The CCA ordination for plant communities in dry valleys of the Yalong River and the Dadu River. MAP, Mean annual precipitation; PDQ, Precipitation in driest quarter. The meaning of Type A, B, C, D and E are the same as in Fig. 3."

Fig. 5

The geographical isolation curve in dry valleys of the Yalong River and the Dadu River. R means the correlation coefficient between Jaccard similarity index matrix and geography distance matrix."

Table 3

The results of Mantel test and partial Mantel test for similarities of plant species composition between dry valleys of the Yalong River and the Dadu River"

距离矩阵 Distance matrices R P
环境 Environmental -0.727 0.001
环境|地理距离 Environmental | Geographical distance -0.543 0.001
环境|5倍地理距离 Environments |
5 × Geographical distance
-0.401 0.002
地理距离 Geographical distance -0.576 0.001
地理距离|环境 Geographical distance | Environments -0.013 0.513
5 ×地理距离|环境 5 × Geographical distance | Environments -0.451 0.001
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