Biodiversity Science ›› 2019, Vol. 27 ›› Issue (1): 33-41.doi: 10.17520/biods.2018171

• Original Papers • Previous Article     Next Article

Drivers and patterns of α- and β-diversity in ten main forest community types in Gutianshan, eastern China

Weng Changlu1, 2, Zhang Tiantian2, Wu Donghao2, Chen Shengwen3, Jin Yi2, Ren Haibao4, Yu Mingjian2, Luo Yuanyuan1, *()   

  1. 1 College of Life Sciences,China Jiliang University, Hangzhou 310018
    2 College of Life Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058
    3 Center of Ecology and Resources, Qianjiangyuan National Park, Kaihua, Zhejiang 324300
    4 State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093
  • Received:2018-06-20 Accepted:2019-01-31 Online:2019-03-15
  • Luo Yuanyuan

Located in the subtropical zone of China, Gutianshan National Nature Reserve (GNNR) contains a variety of forest community types and is rugged in terrain. Here, we established 79 forest plots, each 20 m × 20 m in area, within the ten main community types of GNNR. Based on this, we analyzed the α- (Shannon- Wiener index) and β- (Horn-Morisita dissimilarity index) diversity patterns of and between these community types and their underlying driving factors. We found that: (1) Community type, elevation and aspect were the most important determinants of α-diversity. α-diversity showed significant differences between community types, and increased with elevation and northness. (2) Community type and elevation, but not spatial distance significantly affected β-diversity. β-diversity between community types was higher than within community type, and β-diversity also increased with increasing elevation. These results show that community type and elevation are the main influencing factors of the α- and β-diversity patterns in GNNR forests, and further suggest the importance of drivers, such as habitat filtering, on the assembly of GNNR forests.

Key words: community assembly, subtropical forests, α diversity;, β diversity;, elevation, aspect, community type

Fig. 1

The locations of 79 forest community plots. EBLF, EDBLF, PTF, PTBLF, DBLF, PMF, PMBLF, CLP, CLBLF and COP are the same as in Table 1."

Table 1

The area of each forest community type, the number of each plot and sample area"

Community type
Community area (ha)
Number of plots
Sample area (ha)
常绿阔叶林 Evergreen broad-leaved forest (EBLF) 4,778.9 24 0.96
Evergreen and deciduous broad-leaved mixed forest (EDBLF)
444.1 11 0.44
黄山松林 Pinus taiwanensis forest (PTF) 14.3 2 0.08
Pinus taiwanensis and broad-leaved trees mixed forest (PTBLF)
152.7 4 0.16
落叶阔叶林 Deciduous broad-leaved forest (DBLF) 18.5 2 0.08
马尾松林 Pinus massoniana forest (PMF) 217.8 4 0.16
Pinus massoniana and broad-leaved trees mixed forest (PMBLF)
329.6 12 0.48
杉木林 Cunninghamia lanceolata plantation (CLP) 549.8 9 0.36
Cunninghamia lanceolata and broad-leaved trees mixed forest (CLBLF)
30 2 0.08
油茶林 Camellia oleifera plantation (COP) 1,516.1 9 0.36

Fig. 2

The difference of α diversity in different community types in Gutianshan National Nature Reserve. The different letter on the top of the column shows that there is significant difference between the groups (P < 0.05, Holm method correction), otherwise there is no significant difference. EBLF, EDBLF, PTF, PTBLF, DBLF, PMF, PMBLF, CLP, CLBLF and COP are the same as in Table 1."

Fig. 3

The forest community α diversity (Shannon-Wiener index) along an altitudinal gradient in Gutianshan National Nature Reserve. The circles are actual observations; the solid line is the fitted value; the shadow is 95% confidence intervals."

Fig. 4

The forest community α diversity (Shannon-Wiener index) along the north direction in Gutianshan National Nature Reserve. The circles are actual observations; the solid line is the fitted value; the shadow is 95% confidence intervals."

Table 2

Variance analysis results of the effects of topography and forest community type on forest community α diversity (Shannon-Wiener index) in Gutianshan National Nature Reserve"

Degree of
Total variance
海拔 Elevation 1 15.716 15.716 91.393 < 0.001
坡度 Slope 1 0.550 0.550 3.200 0.078
东西向 East-west 1 0.414 0.414 2.407 0.126
1 0.828 0.828 4.817 0.032
Community type
9 42.872 4.764 27.702 < 0.001
残差 Residuals 65 11.177 0.172

Fig. 5

Non-metric Multidimensional scaling (NMDS) result of species composition of the different community types in Gutianshan National Nature Reserve. EBLF, EDBLF, PTF, PTBLF, DBLF, PMF, PMBLF, CLP, CLBLF and COP are the same as in Table 1."

Fig. 6

Comparison of β diversity (Horn-Morisita dissimilarity idex) within the same community type and between different community types. The different letter on the top of the column shows that there is significant difference between the groups (P < 0.05, t-test), otherwise there is no significant difference."

Fig. 7

The forest community β diversity (Horn-Morisita dissimilarity index) along an altitudinal gradient in Gutianshan National Nature Reserve. The circles are actual observations; the solid line is the fitted value; the shadow is 95% confidence intervals."

Table 3

Effects of geographical distance, topography and community type on forest community β diversity (Horn-Morisita index) in Gutianshan National Nature Reserve (R2 = 0.262)"

效应 Effect t P
空间距离 Spatial distance 0.002 1.497 0.415
海拔 Elevation 0.066 15.148 0.001
坡度 Slope -0.006 -1.635 0.391
南北向 North-South 0.0052 1.370 0.347
东西向 East-West 0.0035 0.836 0.635
群落类型 Community type 0.2393 25.415 0.001
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