Biodiversity Science ›› 2019, Vol. 27 ›› Issue (10): 1069-1080.doi: 10.17520/biods.2019059

• Original Papers • Previous Article     Next Article

A comparative study on the community characteristics of secondary and old-growth evergreen broad-leaved forests in Gutianshan, Zhejiang Province

Zhang Tiantian1, Wang Xuan2, Ren Haibao2, Yu Jianping3, Jin Yi1, Qian Haiyuan3, Song Xiaoyou3, Ma Keping2, Yu Mingjian1, *()   

  1. 1 College of Life Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058
    2 State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093
    3 Center of Ecology and Resources, Qianjiangyuan National Park, Kaihua, Zhejiang 324300
  • Received:2019-02-28 Accepted:2019-09-01 Online:2019-10-20
  • Yu Mingjian

Evergreen broad-leaved forests (EBLFs), which are the primary zonal vegetation of subtropical East Asia, shelter high biodiversity and contribute significantly to human welfare. Today, most EBLFs are secondary growth due to long-term human activity. The few remaining old-growth EBLFs are small, scattered patches. Understanding how secondary and old-growth EBLFs differ in their community characteristics would provide guidance for their conservation and restoration. Here, we compare the dominant species composition, species and functional diversity, and aboveground biomass between old-growth (fifteen 20 m × 20 m plots) and secondary (fourteen 20 m × 20 m plots) EBLFs in Gutianshan National Nature Reserve (GNNR). We found that: (1) Both old-growth and secondary EBLFs were dominated by the same set of evergreen broad-leaved species, such as Castanopsis eyrei and Schima superba, but the species dominance order was inconsistent in the two forest types. (2) Secondary EBLFs had a higher Shannon-Wiener index value and greater functional dispersion than old-growth EBLFs, but neither the Bray-Curtis dissimilarity index values nor the functional Sørensen index values differed greatly between secondary and old-growth EBLFs. (3) When considering three vertical forest layers separately, the differences in the Shannon-Wiener and Bray-Curtis indices between secondary and old-growth EBLFs were mainly reflected in the tree and shrub layers. (4) Looking at the community structure overall, the stem density was greater in secondary EBLFs than old-growth EBLFs. Additionally, the community level and the individual level biomass were both lower in secondary EBLFs than old-growth EBLFs. These findings suggest that human disturbance has changed multiple characteristics of the EBLFs in GNNR, and their recovery process has been asymmetrical. Accordingly, any conservation plans to restore the biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in EBLFs should adopt a multi-faceted strategy.

Key words: old-growth forest, secondary forest, species composition, α diversity, β diversity, functional trait, biomass, stem density

Table 1

Importance value (IV) of the top 10 dominant species in old-growth and secondary evergreen broad-leaved forests in Gutianshan National Nature Reserve"

排名 Rank 老龄林 Old-growth forest 重要值 IV 排名 Rank 次生林 Secondary forest 重要值 IV
1 甜槠 Castanopsis eyrei 17.22 1 木荷 Schima superba 16.86
2 木荷 Schima superba 9.09 2 甜槠 Castanopsis eyrei 11.34
3 马银花 Rhododendron ovatum 5.00 3 格药柃 Eurya muricata 4.25
4 格药柃 Eurya muricata 3.63 4 檵木 Loropetalum chinense 3.80
5 马尾松 Pinus massoniana 3.09 5 青冈 Cyclobalanopsis glauca 3.42
6 虎皮楠 Daphniphyllum oldhami 3.07 6 石栎 Lithocarpus glaber 3.26
7 红楠 Machilus thunbergii 2.54 7 马尾松 Pinus massoniana 2.46
8 青冈 Cyclobalanopsis glauca 2.45 8 鹿角杜鹃 Rhododendron latoucheae 2.23
9 毛花连蕊茶 Camellia trichoclada 2.41 9 杉木 Cunninghamia lanceolata 2.22
10 鹿角杜鹃 Rhododendron latoucheae 2.12 10 马银花 Rhododendron ovatum 2.21

Fig. 1

Comparisons of Shannon-Wiener index and functional dispersion between old-growth and secondary evergreen broad-leaved forests in Gutianshan National Nature Reserve. Different lower-case letters above the boxes indicate significant pairwise difference (Padj < 0.05, Wilcoxon rank-sum test, P value was adjusted using the Holm method)."

Fig. 2

Comparisons of Shannon-Wiener index of shrub layer (A), sub-tree layer (B) and tree layer (C) between old-growth and secondary evergreen broad-leaved forests in Gutianshan National Nature Reserve. Different lower-case letters above the boxes indicate significant pairwise difference (Padj < 0.05, Wilcoxon rank-sum test, P value was adjusted using the Holm method)."

Table 2

Relationship between environmental factors and Shannon-Wiener index and functional dispersion of evergreen broad-leaved forests in Gutianshan National Nature Reserve. *, P < 0.05; **, P < 0.01; ***, P < 0.001."

Shannon-Wiener指数 Shannon-Wiener index 功能离散度 Functional dispersion
截距 Intercept 19.933*** 0.1944***
人类干扰 Human disturbance 10.271** 0.0259
sin(坡向) sin(Aspect)
cos(坡向) cos(Aspect) -4.658*
海拔 Elevation 0.0001
坡度 Slope

Fig. 3

Linear regression model results of age effects on community structure of secondary evergreen broad-leaved forests in Gutianshan National Nature Reserve"

Fig. 4

Species rarefaction curves of old-growth forest and secondary forest in Gutianshan National Nature Reserve"

Fig. 5

Comparisons of species Bray-Curtis index (A) and functional Sørensen index (B) between old-growth and secondary evergreen broad-leaved forests in Gutianshan National Nature Reserve. Different lower-case letters above the boxes indicate significant pairwise difference (Padj < 0.05, Wilcoxon rank-sum test, P value was adjusted using the Holm method). OF, Old-growth Forest; SF, Secondary Forest."

Fig. 6

Comparisons of species Bray-Curtis index of shrub layer (A), sub-tree layer (B) and tree layer (C) between old-growth and secondary evergreen broad-leaved forests in Gutianshan National Nature Reserve. Different lower-case letters above the boxes indicate significant pairwise difference (Padj < 0.05, Wilcoxon rank-sum test, P value was adjusted using the Holm method)."

Table 3

Linear regression model of environmental factors effects on aboveground biomass of each plot. *, P < 0.05; **, P < 0.01; ***, P < 0.001."

Stem density
Aboveground biomass
截距 Intercept -1.4915** 7231.301*
Human disturbance
1.0059*** -2881.881*
海拔 Elevation 6.135
sin (坡向) sin (Aspect)
cos (坡向) cos (Aspect)
坡度 Slope -0.4319**
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