Biodiversity Science ›› 2020, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (3): 289-295.doi: 10.17520/biods.2019143

• Original Papers • Previous Article     Next Article

Habitat characteristics and its effects on seedling abundance of Hopea hainanensis, a Wild Plant with Extremely Small Populations

Xinghui Lu1, Runguo Zang2, 3, *(), Yi Ding2, 3, Jihong Huang2, 3, Yue Xu2, 3   

  1. 1. College of Agronomy, Liaocheng University, Liaocheng, Shandong 252000
    2. Institute of Forest Ecology, Environment and Protection, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Key Laboratory of Forest Ecology and Environment of the State Forestry Administration, Beijing 100091
    3. Co-Innovation Center for Sustainable Forestry in Southern China, Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing 210037
  • Received:2019-04-26 Accepted:2019-09-01 Online:2019-12-24
  • Runguo Zang

Hopea hainanensis, a Wild Plant with Extremely Small Populations (WPESP), is a dominant species in the lowland rainforest on Hainan Island, China. Hopea hainanensis has populations well below minimum viable limits and is now at high extinction risk due to difficulties in regeneration and severe anthropogenic disturbances, such as commercial logging and shifting cultivation. Understanding the habitat requirements and regeneration limitations of H. hainensis is a critical first step to rescue and restore its natural population sizes. Here, based on observations and measurements of wild populations of H. hainanensis, we analyzed the effects of abiotic and biotic environmental factors on seedling abundance. Hopea hainanensis populations exhibited a severe recruitment limitation from the seedling to sapling lifestage. Seedlings occurred most often in habitats with low slope, high soil water content and soil available phosphorus with nearby mother trees with large DBH or crowns and around various species with moderate basal areas. Seedling abundance was negatively correlated with slope and soil pH. Our results provide rationale and direction for proper in situ conservation and population restoration of H. hainanensis.

Key words: Wild Plant with Extremely Small Populations (WPESP), Hopea hainanensis, environmental factors, seedling, abundance

Fig. 1

Diagram for the survey quadrats of Hopea hainanensis, a Wild Plant with Extremely Small Populations. The black dot in the center is the mother tree of Hopea hainanensis."

Fig. 2

Population structure of Hopea hainanensis, a Wild Plant with Extremely Small Populations"

Table 1

Habitat characteristics of Hopea hainanensis, a Wild Plant with Extremely Small Populations"

Habitat factors
中位数 ± 标准差
Median ± SD
海拔 Elevation (m) 560.9 ± 173.67 260-940
坡度 Slope (°) 15.00 ± 10.55 0-40
Soil water content (%)
12.23 ± 7.08 3.60-47.10
土壤pH值 Soil pH value 4.78 ± 0.57 3.80-5.98
Soil organic matter (g/kg)
3.75 ± 1.58 0.13-7.93
Soil total nitrogen (g/kg)
1.38 ± 0.57 0.30-2.49
Soil total phosphorus (g/kg)
0.17 ± 0.05 0.09-0.34
Soil available nitrogen
86.8 ± 28.03 15.06-140.77
Soil available phosphorus (mg/kg)
15.16 ± 7.09 5.74-34.26
Soil available potassium (mg/kg)
147.88 ± 57.50 47.16-296.36
Canopy openness (%)
6.94 ± 3.27 2.01-19.49
Basal area of companion
species (cm2)
1,017.36 ± 996.31 226.86-3,990.67
Height of companion species (m)
23 ± 4.81 10.00-33.00
母株冠幅 Crown of mother tree (m) 3.63 ± 1.05 1.50-6.50
DBH of mother tree (cm)
20.94 ± 3.60 14.91-33.61
Height of mother tree (m)
13.51 ± 1.62 11.00-14.00

Fig. 3

Principal component analysis of habitat factors of Hopea hainanensi, a Wild Plant with Extremely Small Populations. ELE, Elevation; SWC, Soil water content; pH, Soil pH value; TP, Soil total phosphorus; AP, Soil available phosphorus; AK, Soil available potassium; CO, Canopy openness; BA, Basal area of companion species; Crown, Crown of mother tree; MDBH, DBH of mother tree; MH, Height of mother tree."

Table 2

The loadings and explained variance of environmental variables in the first two axes in principal component anlysis (PCA)"

生境因子 Habitat factors PCA1 PCA2
海拔 Elevation 0.21 -0.03
坡度 Slope 1.42 -0.03
土壤含水量 Soil water content -0.48 0.11
土壤pH值 Soil pH value 0.08 -0.02
土壤全磷 Soil total phosphorus -0.12 0.00
土壤有效磷 Soil available phosphorus -0.38 -0.00
土壤有效钾 Soil available potassium 0.05 0.12
冠层开阔度 Canopy openness 0.02 -0.11
Basal area of companion species
0.12 1.05
母株冠幅 Crown of mother tree -0.06 0.20
母株胸径 DBH of mother tree -0.08 0.17
母株高度 Height of mother tree -0.03 0.04
特征值 Eigenvalue 0.232 0.110
方差比例 Proportion of variance 0.467 0.238
累积方差比例 Proportion of cumulative variance 0.467 0.705
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