Biodiversity Science ›› 2018, Vol. 26 ›› Issue (9): 919-930.doi: 10.17520/biods.2018101

• Original Papers • Previous Article     Next Article

Nine-year seed rain dynamics in Parashorea chinensis forest in Xishuangbanna, Southwest China

Lina Dou1, 2, Wenfu Zhang1, Xiaobao Deng1, Min Cao1, *(), Yong Tang1   

  1. 1 CAS Key Laboratory of Tropical Forest Ecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mengla, Yunnan 666303
    2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
  • Received:2018-04-04 Accepted:2018-05-15 Online:2019-01-05
  • Cao Min
  • About author:# Co-first authors

Seed rain patterns are a crucial influence on plant regeneration. Although it is very challenging to understand the dynamics of seed rain, long-term monitoring of seeds can provide useful insights. In this study, we monitored seed rain patterns of forests dominated by Parashorea chinensis in Xishuangbanna, Southwest China for nine years. We recorded 8,993,224 seeds belonging to 226 species, between May 2008 and April 2017. We categorized seeds of 77 species as large, 61 species as medium, 72 species as small, 13 species as tiny, 1 species as infinitesimally grainy seed and 2 species as filamentous. More than 70% of all seeds belong to the top 10 dominant species. Seeds of all types showed pronounced inter-annual variation for both seed number and species number. At least one mast seeding was observed for each of the seed type during nine years.

Key words: tropical forest, seed rain, species composition, inter-annual variation, mast seeding

Fig. 1

Seed trap units setting. (A) Schematic of seed trap; (B) Distribution of seed traps in the plot; X- and Y-axes represent the width and length of the 20 ha plot, respectively."

Table 1

Number of seeds, seed density and number of species during 9 years in Parashorea chinensis forest, Xishuangbanna"

Seed type
No. of seeds
Seed density
I-1 9,779 14.5 77 0.35
I-2 24,237 35.9 61 0.50
I-3 83,399 123.6 72 0.28
小计 Subtotal 117,415 174.0 210 0.24
II-1 1,215,235 1,800.3 13 0.72
II-2 7,244,667 10,732.8 1 0.81
II-3 415,907 616.2 2 0.73
小计 Subtotal 8,875,809 13,149.3 16 0.69
总计 Total 8,993,224 13,323.3 226 0.68

Fig. 2

Frequency histogram of coefficients of annual variation in seed rain input (number of species) for 226 species during 2008-2017"

Fig. 3

Variations in the annual input for six types of seeds during 2008-2017. Seed types are the same as in Table 1."

Fig. 4

Annual dynamics in the species numbers of four types of seeds during 2008-2017. Because the seed types of II-2 and II-3 only include one and two species, respectively, they are not shown here. Seed types are the same as in Table 1."

Table 2

Top 10 dominant species with the most abundant seed input for four seed types"

Seed type
No. of seeds
Density (seeds·m-2·yr-1)
% of all species
I-1 大型种子 Large-sized seeds
假海桐 Pittopsoropsis kerrii 1,629 2.4
云树 Garcinia cowa 1,316 1.9
南酸枣 Choerospondias axillaris 951 1.4
贵州香花藤 Aganosma breviloba 616 0.9
望天树 Parashorea chinensis 527 0.8
番龙眼 Pometia pinnata 484 0.7
华马钱 Strychnos cathayensis 413 0.6
蒙自黄檀 Dalbergia henryana 404 0.6
望谟崖摩 Aglaia lawii 325 0.5
微花藤 Iodes cirrhosa 321 0.5
合计 Total 6,986 71.44
I-2 中型种子 Medium-sized seeds
短刺锥 Castanopsis echinocarpa 6,041 8.9
阔叶风车子 Combretum latifolium 2,662 3.9
宽药青藤 Illigera celebica 1,318 2.0
多花瓜馥木 Fissistigma polyanthum 1,779 2.6
毛叶岭南酸枣 Spondiaslakonensis var. hirsuta 1,734 2.6
海南破布叶 Microcos chungii 1,243 1.8
酸苔菜 Ardisia solanacea 1,192 1.8
细毛润楠 Machilus tenuipilis 1,118 1.7
岭南臭椿 Ailanthus triphysa 787 1.2
羽叶金合欢 Acacia pennata 930 1.4
合计 Total 18,804 77.58
I-3 小型种子 Small-sized seeds
小萼菜豆树 Radermachera microcalyx 20,972 31.1
狭叶一担柴 Colona thorelii 13,803 20.4
千果榄仁 Terminalia myriocarpa 6,903 10.2
云南黄杞 Engelhardtia spicata 6,213 9.2
浆果乌桕 Balakata baccata 5,460 8.1
滇缅斑鸠菊 Vernonia parishii 5,436 8.1
翅果麻 Kydia calycina 4,581 6.8
西桦 Betula alnoides 3,381 5.0
羽叶白头树 Garuga pinnata 1,891 2.8
大果褐叶榕 Ficus pubigera var. maliformis 1,594 2.4
合计 Total 70,234 84.21
II-1 粒状微小种子 Tiny grainy seeds
假斜叶榕 Ficus subulata 495,753 734.4
青藤公 Ficus langkokensis 392,351 581.3
劲直榕 Ficus stricta 119,718 177.4
羊乳榕 Ficus sagittata 112,407 166.5
水同木 Ficus fistulosa 73,401 108.7
滇南新乌檀 Neonauclea tsaiana 9,857 14.6
海桐叶柃 Eurya pittosporifolia 5,816 8.6
垂叶榕 Ficus benjamina var. benjamina 2,657 3.9
棒果榕 Ficus subincisa 2,020 3.0
大果榕 Ficus auriculata 770 1.1
合计 Total 1,214,750 99.96
II-2 粒状极小种子 Infinitesimally grainy seed
团花 Neolamarckia cadamba 7,244,667 10,732.8
合计 Total 7,244,667 100.00
II-3 细丝状种子 Filamentous seeds
八宝树 Duabanga grandiflora 194,928 288.8
大叶钩藤 Uncaria macrophylla 220,979 327.4
合计 Total 415,907 100.00
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