Biodiversity Science ›› 2013, Vol. 21 ›› Issue (3): 269-277.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2013.09008


• Orginal Article • Previous Article     Next Article

Effects of topography, neighboring plants and size-dependence of Machillus thunbergii on sapling growth and survivorship

Yuewei Tong1, 3, Wenhua Xiang1, 2, *(), Zhengwen Wang3, *(), Walter Durka4, Markus Fischer5   

  1. 1 Faculty of Life Science and Technology, Central South Forestry University, Changsha 410004, China
    2 Huitong National Research Station of Chinese Fir Plantations Ecosystem in Hunan Province, Changsha 410004, China
    3 Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang 110016, China
    4 Department Community Ecology, Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research-UFZ, Halle, 06120, Germany
    5 Institute of Plant Sciences, University of Bern, Bern, CH-3013, Switzerland
  • Received:2013-01-07 Accepted:2013-04-11 Online:2013-06-05
  • Xiang Wenhua,Wang Zhengwen;

Growth and survivorship of Machillus thunbergii saplings in mountain forest are likely to be affected by topographical factors, biotic interactions with neighbouring plants, and individual size. However, such effects are always species- and site-specific, and may influence how plant species diversity contributes to ecosystem productivity. This study aimed to examine how individual growth and survivorship of Machilus thunbergii saplings are affected by: (1) topographical factors, such as aspect and inclination of slope, (2) species richness and type of neighboring plants, and (3) individual plant size. The experiment was conducted in the framework of BEF-China, a manipulated subtropical forest site in China. A total of 265 plots of 25.82 m × 25.82 m were planted with 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 or 24 different tree species. Each plot contained 400 trees arranged in a rectangular pattern with 1.29 m distance between individuals. In 2010 we added 16 individuals of M. thunbergii to each plot. These 16 individuals were planted in two rows along the western edge of the plots, with each individual in the center of 4 adjacent trees. Height and basal diameter of 1,452 surviving Machilus saplings were measured in June 2011 and 2012. ANOVA and Duncan’s multiple comparison tests were used to analyze the effects of both topography and of neighbouring plants, and linear regression was used to test size-dependence of growth. We found that Machilus saplings on shady slopes grew faster and had higher survival rates than those on sunny slopes, while the height increment of Machilus on plots with a mild incline was greater than that on steep slopes. Richness of neighboring plant species had an insignificant effect on Machilus sapling growth and survival rate; while the type of neighbouring species had different effects on Machilus sapling growth, but no effect on survival rate. Deciduous broadleaved species had the greatest effect on growth, followed by a mixture of deciduous and evergreen broadleaved species, followed by evergreen broadleaved species and lastly by evergreen needle leaved species; Machilus sapling growth was positively size-dependent, i.e., larger saplings grew faster. We conclude that, modelling tree growth should simultaneously incorporate topographical factors, species-specific neighborhood interaction and size of individuals, thereby providing a more accurate prediction of forest productivity and development, as well as information that will aid the conservation of endangered species.

Key words: BEF-China, functional type, Machilus thunbergii, neighbouring plant effects, size-dependent, species richness, topography, tree growth modeling

Fig. 1

Planting scheme in a single plot of the study site. Open circles represent 400 tree seedlings, solid triangles represent 16 Machilus thunbergii saplings."

Table 1

The 24 neighboring plant species of Machilus thunbergii and their functional groups"

Functional group
1 马尾松 Pinus massoniana 常绿针叶型 EN
2 杉木 Cunninghamia lanceolata 常绿针叶型 EN
3 华东楠 Machilus leptophylla 常绿阔叶型 EB
4 红楠 Machilus thunbergii 常绿阔叶型 EB
5 黄绒润楠 Machilus grijsii 常绿阔叶型 EB
6 苦槠 Castanopsis sclerophylla 常绿阔叶型 EB
7 闽楠 Phoebe bournei 常绿阔叶型 EB
8 青冈 Cyclobalanopsis glauca 常绿阔叶型 EB
9 乳源木莲 Manglietia yuyuanensis 常绿阔叶型 EB
10 石栎 Lithocarpus glaber 常绿阔叶型 EB
11 薯豆 Elaeocarpus japonicus 常绿阔叶型 EB
12 丝栗栲 Castanopsis fargesii 常绿阔叶型 EB
13 甜槠 Castanopsis eyrei 常绿阔叶型 EB
14 秃瓣杜英 Elaeocarpus glabripetalus 常绿阔叶型 EB
15 乌冈栎 Quercus phillyraeoides 常绿阔叶型 EB
16 香樟 Cinnamomum camphora 常绿阔叶型 EB
17 中华杜英 Elaeocarpus chinensis 常绿阔叶型 EB
18 臭椿 Ailanthus altissima 落叶阔叶型 DB
19 垂枝泡花树 Meliosma flexuosa 落叶阔叶型 DB
20 光皮桦 Betula luminifera 落叶阔叶型 DB
21 黄果朴 Celtis biondi 落叶阔叶型 DB
22 拟赤杨 Alniphyllum fortunei 落叶阔叶型 DB
23 山桐子 Idesia polycarpa 落叶阔叶型 DB
24 浙江柿 Diospyros glaucifolia 落叶阔叶型 DB

Fig. 2

Effects of slope aspect and slope steepness on basal diameter increment, height increment and survival rate of Machilus thunbergii saplings (mean ± SE). Different letters (a and b) represent the significant value."

Fig. 3

Basal diameter increment, height increment and survival rate of Machilus thunbergii saplings under different neighbouring plant species functional group (mean ± SE). Different letters (a, b, c and d) represent the significant value. EN = evergreen needle; EB = evergreen broadleaf; DB = deciduous broadleaf."

Fig. 4

The linear relationship between the Ln(Basal diameter (BD) increment), Ln(Height increment) and the Ln(Initial basal diameter) and Ln(Initial height) of Machilus thunbergii saplings"

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