Biodiv Sci ›› 2020, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (3): 289-295.DOI: 10.17520/biods.2019143

• Original Papers • Previous Articles     Next Articles

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:2020-03-20 Published:2019-12-24
  • Contact: Runguo Zang

Abstract:

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