Biodiversity Science ›› 2017, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (1): 23-33.doi: 10.17520/biods.2016199

• Orginal Article • Previous Article     Next Article

Spatial heterogeneity and its causes in evergreen broad-leaved forests in the Ailao Mountains, Yunnan Province

Yuanjie Xu1, Dunmei Lin2, Ming Shi3, Yanjie Xie3, Yizhi Wang1, Zhenhua Guan1, *(), Jianying Xiang1   

  1. 1 Yunnan Academy of Biodiversity, Southwest Forestry University, Kunming 650224
    2 Key Laboratory of the Three Gorges Reservoir Region’s Eco-Environment, Ministry of Education, Chongqing University, Chongqing 400044
    3 The Faculty of Forestry, Southwest Forestry University, Kunming 650224
  • Received:2016-07-20 Accepted:2017-01-05 Online:2017-02-08
  • Guan Zhenhua

Understanding the variation of species richness over spatial scales, and elucidating the response of plant community composition to habitat heterogeneity has been one of the major topics in the study of community ecology. Niche differentiation related to habitat heterogeneity plays an important role in shaping diversity levels and species distribution patterns of plant communities. Based on a survey of 42 plots of four types of evergreen broad-leaved forests in the Ailao Mountains of Yunnan Province, this paper explored how community distribution and tree species richness of such forests changed along topographic and edaphic gradients. We found significant differences in community composition among the four types of evergreen broad-leaved forests. Tree species richness of monsoon evergreen broad-leaved forests was significantly higher than that of the other forest types. Tree species richness of mid-montane moist evergreen broad-leaved forests was significantly higher than that of semi-humid evergreen broad-leaved forests, whereas no significant difference was observed among the other forest types. Non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) revealed that nine environmental gradients, including elevation, slope, soil water content, soil organic matter, were the determinants of forest community composition and tree distribution patterns. As the best predictors of tree species richness, soil available boron, elevation, soil total potassium and convexity together explained 63.2% of the variance of tree species richness. The combination of topographic and edaphic factors explained most of the variance of community composition and tree species richness of the evergreen broad leaved forests in the Ailao Mountains.

Key words: habitat heterogeneity, community composition, tree species richness, evergreen broad-leaved forests, the Ailao Mountains

Fig. 1

Location of the Ailao Mountains and overview of the study area"

Table 1

Relative dominance (%) of tree species and their contributions (%) to within-group similarities. The contributions of different tree species are shown in brackets."

Species name
倒卵叶石栎 Lithocarpus crassifolius 25.54(23.40)
云南桤叶树 Clethra delavayi 12.81(17.81)
露珠杜鹃 Rhododendron irroratum 19.47(17.51)
云南越桔 Vaccinium duclouxii 8.37(13.47) 8.68(21.18)
珍珠花 Lyonia ovalifolia 10.45(12.52) 9.99(10.38)
珊瑚冬青 Ilex corallina 5.94(6.35) 8.50(13.34)
木果石栎 Lithocarpus xylocarpus 16.88 (20.10)
腾冲栲 Castanopsis wattii 7.50(7.53)
硬斗柯 Lithocarpus hancei 8.96(6.42)
薄叶马银花 Rhododendron leptothrium 3.30(4.70)
舟柄茶 Stewartia pteropetiolata 3.94(3.51)
滇木荷 Schima noronhae 5.13(2.59)
四川冬青 Ilex szechwanensis 2.72(2.01)
旱冬瓜 Alnus nepalensis 19.39(21.73) 9.71(18.22)
高山栲 Castanopsis delavayi 9.56(21.37)
母猪果 Helicia nilagirica 4.29(10.23)
茶梨 Anneslea fragrans 2.51(8.21)
截头石栎 Lithocarpus truncatus 10.20 (7.47)
小果栲 Castanopsis fleuryi 8.93(7.35)
滇南木姜子 Litsea garrettii 4.37(6.19)
西南木荷 Schima wallichii 6.13(4.77)
红梗润楠 Machilus rufipes 4.96(2.97)
滇青冈 Cyclobalanopsis glaucoides 35.04(27.95)
白穗石栎 Lithocarpus craibianus 28.38(27.93)
多穗石栎 Lithocarpus polystachyus 20.47(24.96)

Table 2

Correlation coefficients of the NMDS ordination axes and the environmental factors"

Environmental factors
海拔 Elevation -0.779 -0.627 0.897 0.001
凹凸度 Convexity 0.992 -0.128 0.098 0.134
坡向 Aspect -0.025 -1.000 0.035 0.490
坡度 Slope -0.352 -0.936 0.241 0.007
土壤含水率 Soil water content (SW) -0.994 -0.107 0.635 0.001
土壤有机质 Soil organic matter (SOM) -0.825 -0.566 0.293 0.003
土壤pH值 pH 0.998 0.067 0.597 0.001
全氮 Total nitrogen (TN) -0.367 -0.930 0.060 0.312
全磷 Total phosphorus (TP) -0.543 0.840 0.108 0.121
全钾 Total potassium (TK) 0.150 -0.989 0.374 0.002
有效氮 Available nitrogen (AN) -0.582 0.813 0.079 0.210
有效磷 Available phosphorus (AP) -0.918 0.396 0.432 0.001
有效钾 Available potassium (AK) 0.112 0.994 0.316 0.001
有效硼 Available boron (AB) -0.272 0.962 0.503 0.001

Fig. 2

Non-metric multidimensional scaling ordination of forest plots (4 vegetation sub-types) in the Ailao Mountains. Colored circles, symbols “+” and arrows indicate plots, tree species and environmental factors respectively. Notes see Fig. 1 and Table 2."

Table 3

Model selection with the “dredge” function"

pH 全钾
AICc ΔAICc 权重值
1 1.796 -0.128 -0.001 -0.345 5 90.0 0.00 0.261
2 2.082 -0.001 -0.250 4 90.4 0.39 0.214
3 2.374 -0.001 4 91.0 0.95 0.162
4 2.001 -0.005 -0.124 -0.002 -0.409 6 91.3 1.26 0.139
5 2.290 -0.005 -0.002 -0.320 6 91.5 1.44 0.127
6 2.544 0.676 -0.302 5 92.0 2.00 0.096
相对重要性Importance 1.00 0.27 0.40 0.90 0.10 0.84

Fig. 3

Tree species richness of four vegetation sub-types in the Ailao Mountains. Forest types see Fig. 1."

Fig. 4

Responds of tree species richness to environmental factors. The solid line shows the estimations of tree richness, and the dashed lines indicate 95% confidence interval."

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