Biodiv Sci ›› 2019, Vol. 27 ›› Issue (1): 24-32.DOI: 10.17520/biods.2018222

• Original Papers • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Sprouting characteristics of communities during succession in an evergreen broad-leaved forest on Gutian Mountain, East China

Chi Xiulian1,Wang Qinggang2,*(),Guo Qiang3,Yang Xian3,Tang Zhiyao3   

  1. 1 National Resource Center for Chinese Materia Medica, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, State Key Laboratory Breeding Base of Dao-di Herbs, Beijing 100700
    2 Department of Ecology and Ecological Engineering, College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, and Key Laboratory of Biodiversity and Organic Farming of Beijing City, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193
    3 Department of Ecology, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, The Key Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes of the Ministry of Education, Peking University, Beijing 100871
  • Received:2018-08-09 Accepted:2019-01-09 Online:2019-01-20 Published:2019-03-15
  • Contact: Wang Qinggang


Sprouting is an important vegetative reproduction strategy. Sprouting in woody plants is especially of great significance for maintaining forest structure and influencing vegetation dynamics and succession. In this study, we collected sprout data from 25 plots (30 m × 30 m) in an evergreen broad-leaved forest on Gutian Mountain, Zhejiang Province, East China for all trees with diameter at breast height (DBH) equal to or greater than 5 cm. Based on this data, we used general linear regression models to explore the characteristics and the effects of topographic factors and forest age on sprouting ability in forest communities during succession. We found that (1) 53.8% (56/104) of species in this forest showed evidence of sprouting. (2) The plot-level sprouting ability decreased significantly with elevation and marginally decreased significantly with aspect. (3) The plot-level sprouting ability decreased significantly with forest age. Forest age explained 20%-30% of the variation in sprouting ability after being fitted with the models using topographical factors. Both the number of sprouting genets and the proportion of sprouted species richness decreased significantly, while the mean DBH of sprouting genets increased significantly with forest age. This study shows that a decrease in community sprouting ability coupled with an increase in forest age may result from changes in both species composition (i.e. a decreasing number of individuals, but a higher sprouting ability) and structure (i.e. an increasing in proportion of larger individuals) during forest succession. In addition, the sprouting ability of forest communities is also affected by topographical factors, such as elevation and aspect.

Key words: forest regeneration, sprouts, forest age, topography