Biodiversity Science ›› 2013, Vol. 21 ›› Issue (6): 666-676.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2013.11090

• Orginal Article • Previous Article     Next Article

Disturbance-driven changes to landscape patterns and responses of waterbirds at West Dongting Lake, China

Yunzhu Liu1, Linlu Shi1, Hairui Duo1, Boyong Peng2, Cai Lü1, Yi Zhu1, Guangchun Lei1, *()   

  1. 1 School of Nature Conservation, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083
    2 West Dongting Lake Provincial Nature Reserve, Hanshou, Hunan 415923
  • Received:2013-04-09 Accepted:2013-07-05 Online:2013-12-02
  • Lei Guangchun

To understand human impact on a wetland ecosystem, we analyzed the land-use and land-cover change (LUCC) and also changes to landscape pattern between 1996 and 2013, at West Dongting Lake (WDL), China. For this purpose, we examined remote sensing data and conducted field studies to compare community structure and diversity of waterbirds in three typical habitats: restored wetland, fragmented natural wetland and poplar plantation. Our results showed that the area used for poplar plantation increased 9 times from 1996 to 2013, while the area occupied by reed marsh increased by 30.6%. In contrast, areas of natural wetland, open water, and wet meadow/mudflat, were reduced by 46.4%, 49.8%, and 39.8%, respectively. The WDL wetland ecosystem was significantly fragmented and degraded over the same period as shown by an increase in landscape fragmentation index from 1.239 in 1996 to 2.897 in 2013. Comparisons of populations, species and distribution of waterbirds among three habitats showed. (1) Restored wetland provided habitat for several wintering waterbirds allowing a broader population distribution, but at the same time a simpler community structure with lower biodiversity (H'=1.866). (2) Fragmented natural wetland provided habitat for diverse wintering birds, including rare and endangered black stork (Ciconia nigra) and Siberian crane (Grus leucogeranus), thus rising the Shannon-Wiener index (H'=2.118) for the bird community in this type of habitat, although waterbird population numbers remained low. (3) Poplar plantation was, in general, not suitable for waterbirds with only two individuals of one species observed in this habitat during the field survey period. In conclusion, landscape pattern change and habitat fragmentation reduced biodiversity at WDL with the planting of poplar trees being the key driver of wetland ecosystem degradation. For future management, forestation should be restricted while restoration of natural wetland should be a high priority.

Key words: West Dongting Lake, wetland, human disturbance, landscape pattern, habitat fragmentation, waterbird community

Fig. 1

Location of West Dongting Lake"

Fig. 2

Change of land use pattern in West Dongting Lake. (a) 1996; (b) 2013; (c) change regions from 1996 to 2013. ① restored wetland, ② fragmented natural wetland, ③ poplar plantation. Conversion type I, Converted among natural wetland types (water, mudflat, wet meadow); Conversion type II, Natural wetland types converted to artificial types (poplar plantation, reed marsh and others); Conversion type III, Converted among artificial types; Conversion type IV, Artificial types restored to natural wetland types."

Table 1

Patch area (ha) and proportion for 1996 and 2013"

年份 Year 1996 2013
水域 Water 11,039(31.9%) 5,922(17.1%)
泥滩地 Mudflat 4,291(12.4%) 2,582(7.5%)
芦苇 Reed marsh 8,741(25.2%) 11,434(33.0%)
林地 Poplar plantation 902(2.6%) 8,918(25.8%)
草滩 Wet grassland 9,009(26.0%) 4,523(13.1%)
其他 Others 638(1.8%) 1,241(3.6%)
合计 Total 34,620 34,620

Table 2

Land use conversion matrix for West Dongting Lake from 1996 to 2013 (ha)"

Reed marsh
Poplar plantation
Wet meadow
水域 Water 5,145 2,131 758 747 2,112 146
A 46.6% 19.3% 6.9% 6.8% 19.1% 1.3%
B 86.9% 82.5% 6.6% 8.4% 46.7% 11.8%
泥滩地 Mudflat 33 257 1,382 1,204 1,346 69
A 0.8% 6.0% 32.2% 28.1% 31.4% 1.6%
B 0.6% 10.0% 12.1% 13.5% 29.8% 5.6%
芦苇 Reed marsh 149 65 5,271 1,864 440 952
A 1.7% 0.7% 60.3% 21.3% 5.0% 10.9%
B 2.5% 2.5% 46.1% 20.9% 9.7% 76.7%
林地 Poplar plantation 42 41 317 331 150 21
A 4.7% 4.5% 35.1% 36.7% 16.6% 2.3%
B 0.7% 1.6% 2.8% 3.7% 3.3% 1.7%
草滩 Wet meadow 39 47 3,693 4,754 441 35
A 0.4% 0.5% 41.0% 52.8% 4.9% 0.4%
B 0.7% 1.8% 32.3% 53.3% 9.8% 2.8%
其他 Others 514 41 13 18 34 18
A 80.6% 6.4% 2.0% 2.8% 5.3% 2.8%
B 8.7% 1.6% 0.1% 0.2% 0.8% 1.5%
变化率 Change rate -46.4% -39.8% 30.8% 888.7% -49.8% 94.5%
年均变化率 Annual change rate -2.7% -2.3% 1.8% 52.3% -2.9% 5.6%

Table 3

Landscape pattern indices of each wetland type in 1996 and 2013"

斑块个数 Number of patches 平均斑块面积
Mean patch size (ha)
最大斑块指数 Largest patch index 边缘密度 Edge density 平均斑块形状指数
Mean shape index
1996 2013 1996 2013 1996 2013 1996 2013 1996 2013
林地 Poplar plantation 54 294 16.71 30.33 0.22 10.62 5.44 24.22 2.28 1.69
水域 Water 44 52 250.89 113.89 23.35 4.56 18.63 14.35 2.41 2.39
芦苇 Reed marsh 174 244 50.23 46.86 8.39 6.39 19.68 33.64 1.94 1.99
草滩 Wet grassland 51 192 176.65 23.56 7.45 3.68 21.45 21.33 2.71 2.13
泥滩地 Mudflat 63 152 68.1 16.98 2.92 0.83 17.75 16.15 2.95 2.21
其他 Others 43 69 14.85 17.99 1.76 0.71 1.5 5.4 1.4 1.84

Table 4

Landscape pattern indices in 1996 and 2013"

景观指数 Landscape pattern indices 1996 2013
蔓延度 Contagion 49.701 44.320
Shannon多样性指数 Shannon diversity index 1.490 1.596
Shannon均匀度指数 Shannon evenness index 0.832 0.891
景观破碎度指数 Landscape fragmentation index 1.239 2.897

Table 5

Main waterbird groups observed in West Dongting Lake"

类群 Group 数量
类 Grebes 449 2
鸬鹚类 Cormorants 1,583 1
鹭类 Herons 407 3
雁类 Geese 359 2
鸭类 Ducks 12,522 12
鸻鹬类 Shorebirds 1,427 10
鸥类 Gulls 164 5
鹳类 Storks 25 1
鹤类 Cranes 17 1
1 Boncompagni E, Muhammad A, Jabeen R, Orvini E, Gandini C, Sanpera C, Ruiz X, Fasola M (2003) Egrets as monitors of trace-metal contamination in wetlands of Pakistan. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 45, 399-406.
2 Colwell MA, Taft OW (2000) Waterbird communities in managed wetlands of varying water depth.Waterbirds, 23, 45-55.
3 Deng WH (邓文洪) (2009) Habitat fragmentation and bird life.Acta Ecologica Sinica(生态学报), 29, 3181-3187. (in Chinese with English abstract)
4 Deng XJ (邓学建), Mi XQ (米小其), Niu YD (牛艳东), Zhou Y (周毅), Ren W (任巍), Li JZ (李剑志) (2008) Birds resource in poplar forest of Dongting Lake and its ecological environment of primordial marshland.Research of Agricultural Modernization(农业现代化研究), 29, 108-111. (in Chinese with English abstract)
5 Dou HS (窦鸿身), Jiang JH (姜加虎) (2000) Dongting Lake (洞庭湖). Press of University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei. (in Chinese)
6 Fahrig L, Merriam G (1985) Habitat patch connectivity and population survival. Ecology, 66, 1762-1768.
7 Fahrig L (2003) Effects of habitat fragmentation on biodiversity.Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics, 34, 487-515.
8 Fu BJ (傅伯杰), Chen LD (陈利顶), Ma KM (马克明), Wang YL (王仰麟) (2011) Principle and Application of Landscape Ecology, 2nd edn. (景观生态学原理及应用, 第二版). Science Press, Beijing. (in Chinese)
9 Furness RW, Greenwood JJD (1993) Birds as Monitors of Environmental Change. Chapman & Hall, London.
10 Gao JF (高俊峰), Zhang C (张琛), Jiang JH (姜加虎), Huang Q (黄群) (2001) Changes in sediment deposition and erosion and their spatial distribution in the Dongting Lake.Acta Geographica Sinica(地理学报), 56, 269-276. (in Chinese with English abstract)
11 Jiang JH (姜加虎), Huang Q (黄群) (2004) Analysis of the lake basin change and the rushing-silting features in the past decades of Dongting Lake.Journal of Lake Sciences(湖泊科学), 16, 209-214. (in Chinese with English abstract)
12 Jiang JH (姜加虎), Zhang C (张琛), Huang Q (黄群), Deng XJ (邓学建) (2004) Analysis on the restoration and ecological recovery of Dongting Lake by stopping cultivation.Journal of Lake Science(湖泊科学), 16, 325-330. (in Chinese with English abstract)
13 Lai HZ (来红州), Mo DW (莫多闻) (2004) Influences of the tectonic subsidence and the siltation on flood disaster prevention situation in the region of Dongting Lake.Acta Geographica Sinica(地理学报), 59, 574-580. (in Chinese with English abstract)
14 Lai XJ (赖锡军), Jiang JH (姜加虎), Huang Q (黄群) (2012) Pattern of impoundment effects and influencing mechanism of Three Gorges Project on water regime of Lake Dongting.Journal of Lake Sciences(湖泊科学), 24, 178-184. (in Chinese with English abstract)
15 Li DL, Chen SH, Guan L, Lloyd H, Liu YL, Lü JZ, Zhang ZW (2011) Patterns of waterbird community composition across a natural and restored wetland landscape mosaic, Yellow River Delta, China.Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 91, 325-332.
16 Li XW (李晓文), Zheng Y (郑钰), Zhao ZK (赵振坤), Li C (黎聪) (2007) The gap analysis of wetland conservation and its conservation network building in Central Yangtze Ecoregion.Acta Ecologica Sinica(生态学报), 27, 4979-4989. (in Chinese with English abstract)
17 Liang SZ (梁守真), Li RD (李仁东), Xu GP (许国鹏) (2007) Changes in wetland landscape in Dongting Lake area.Chinese Journal of Eco-Agriculture(中国生态农业学报), 15, 171-174. (in Chinese with English abstract)
18 Ma KP (马克平) (1994) Measurement of biotic community diversity. I. α diversity (Part I).Chinese Biodiversity(生物多样性), 2, 162-168. (in Chinese)
19 Ma KP (马克平), Liu YM (刘玉明) (1994) Measurement of biotic community diversity. I. α diversity (Part II).Chinese Biodiversity(生物多样性), 2, 231-239. (in Chinese)
20 MacArthur RH, Pianka ER (1966) On optimal use of a patchy environment.The American Naturalist, 100, 603-609.
21 MacArthur RH, Wilson EO(1967) The Theory of Island Biogeography, pp. 8-17. Princeton University Press, Princeton.
22 MacKinnon JR, Phillipps K, He FQ (何芬奇) (2000) A Field Guide to the Birds of China (中国鸟类野外手册). Hunan Education Press, Changsha. (in Chinese)
23 Meine CD, Archibald GW (1996) The Cranes: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland, and Cambridge, UK.
24 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Biodiversity Synthesis. World Resources Institute, Washington, DC.
25 Mistry J, Berardi A, Simpson M (2008) Birds as indicators of wetland status and change in the North Rupununi, Guyana.Biodiversity and Conservation, 17, 2383-2409.
26 Mitsch WJ, Gosselink JG (2007) Wetlands, 4th edn. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken.
27 Nilsson C, Reidy CA, Dynesius M, Revenga C (2005) Fragmentation and flow regulation of the world’s large river systems.Science, 308, 405-408.
28 Ning ZD (宁佐敦), Hu LP (胡利平) (2009) Influence of poplar industrialization development in area social economy at Dongting Lake district.Sichuan Forestry Exploration and Design(四川林勘设计), (1), 47-51. (in Chinese with English abstract)
29 Olson DM, Dinerstein E (2002) The Global 200: priority ecoregions for global conservation.Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden, 89, 199-224.
30 Pickett S, Cadenasso ML (1995) Landscape ecology: spatial heterogeneity in ecological systems.Science, 269, 331-334.
31 Shi JN (石军南), Xu YX (徐永新), Liu QH (刘清华) (2010) An analysis on the variation of landscape pattern of Dongting Lake Wetland Reserve.Journal of Central South University of Forestry & Technology(中南林业科技大学学报), 30, 18-26. (in Chinese with English abstract)
32 Shi XD (施修端), Xia W (夏薇), Yang B (杨彬) (1999) Sediment deposition and erosion in Dongting Lake (1956-1995).Journal of Lake Sciences(湖泊科学), 11, 199-205. (in Chinese with English abstract)
33 Sun ZD, Huang Q, Opp C, Henning T, Marold U (2012) Impacts and implications of major changes caused by the Three Gorges Dam in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, China.Water Resources Management, 26, 3367-3378.
34 Tang ZJ (唐作钧), Zhang GJ (张国君), Pan HX (潘慧新), Xiao XC (肖兴翠) (2012) Growth variation of eleven new poplar clones in Dongting Lake area, Hunan.Journal of Northeast Forestry University(东北林业大学学报), 40, 14-17, 54. (in Chinese with English abstract)
35 Temple SA, Wiens JA (1989) Bird populations and environmental changes: can birds be bio-indicators? American Birds, 43, 260-270.
36 Turner MG (1989) Landscape ecology: the effect of pattern on process.Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, 20, 171-197.
37 Wiens JA (1995) Habitat fragmentation: island v landscape perspectives on bird conservation.Ibis, 137, 97-104.
38 Wu JG (邬建国) (2007) Landscape Ecology: Pattern, Process, Scale and Hierarchy, 2nd edn. (景观生态学: 格局、过程、尺度与等级(第二版)). Higher Education Press, Beijing. (in Chinese)
39 Wu LX (吴立勋), Tang YX (汤玉喜), Wu M (吴敏), Xu SF (徐世凤), Lin JX (林建新) (2006) Studies on poplar plantation for Oncomelania hupensis control and schistosomiasis prevention in the beaches of Dongting Lake.Wetland Science and Management(湿地科学与管理), 2, 14-19. (in Chinese with English abstract)
40 Xie YH (谢永宏), Wang KL (王克林), Ren B (任勃), Yang G (杨刚), Li F (李峰) (2007) Evolution, problems and protection measures of ecological environments in Dongting Lake area.Research of Agricultural Modernization(农业现代化研究), 28, 677-681. (in Chinese with English abstract)
41 Yang F (杨芳), He DH (贺达汉) (2006) Effects of habitat fragmentation on biodiversity.Ecologic Science(生态科学), 25, 564-567. (in Chinese with English abstract)
42 Yin H (尹辉), Yang B (杨波), Jiang ZC (蒋忠诚), Zeng FM (曾发明), Peng P (彭鹏), Li JB (李景保) (2012) Mutual effects between morphological characteristics and variations of flow-sediment process of Dongting Lake during 1951-2009.Geographical Research(地理研究), 31, 471-483. (in Chinese with English abstract)
43 Zhang HJ (张红娟), Liu PP (刘培培), Hu DF (胡德夫), Sui JL (隋金玲) (2010) The number and the habitat of Black Stork in autumn and winter at Shidu Natural Reserve in Beijing.Wetland Science(湿地科学), 8, 273-278. (in Chinese with English abstract)
44 Zheng GM (郑光美) (2011) A Checklist on the Classification and Distribution of the Birds of China, 2nd edn. (中国鸟类分类与分布名录(第二版)). Science Press, Beijing. (in Chinese)
45 Zheng GM (郑光美) (2012) Ornithology, 2nd edn. (鸟类学(第二版)). Beijing Normal University Press, Beijing. (in Chinese)
46 Zou SL (邹邵林), Liu XQ (刘晓清), Liu XP (刘新平), Guo C (郭聪) (2000) The impact of Three-Gorge Project on the length of emergence period of Dongting Lake beach.Resources and Environment in the Yangtze Basin(长江流域资源与环境), 9, 254-259. (in Chinese with English abstract)
47 Zou XY (邹希云), Wen Q (文强), Yang XL (杨晓琳), Liu DY (刘电英), Zhang XM (张选民), Mo SB (莫松柏), Peng JB (彭杰彪) (2007) Meteorological condition analysis of poplar production in Dongting Lake. Modern Agricultural Science and Technology(现代农业科技),18, 20. (in Chinese)
[1] Li Qiang, Wang Bin, Deng Yun, Lin Luxiang, Dawa Zhaxi, Zhang Zhiming. (2019) Correlation between spatial distribution of forest canopy gaps and plant diversity indices in Xishuangbanna tropical forests . Biodiv Sci, 27(3): 273-285.
[2] YAN Peng-Fei, ZHAN Peng-Fei, XIAO De-Rong, WANG Yi, YU Rui, LIU Zhen-Ya, WANG Hang. (2019) Effects of simulated warming and decomposition interface on the litter decomposition rate of Zizania latifolia and its phyllospheric microbial community structure and function . Chin J Plant Ecol, 43(2): 107-118.
[3] Zhou Haonan, Zhao Yuhao, Zeng Di, Liu Juan, Jin Tinghao, Ding Ping. (2019) Spatial patterns and influencing factors of ground ant species diversity on the land-bridge islands in the Thousand Island Lake, China . Biodiv Sci, 27(10): 1101-1111.
[4] Song Naiping, Wang Xing, Chen Lin, Xue Yi, Chen Juan, Sui Jinming, Wang Lei, Yang Xinguo. (2018) Co-existence mechanisms of plant species within “soil islands” habitat of desert steppe . Biodiv Sci, 26(7): 667-677.
[5] Ling HAN, Cheng-Zhang ZHAO, Wei FENG, Ting XU, Hui-Ling ZHENG, Bei-Bei DUAN. (2017) Trade-off relationship between vein density and vein diameter of Achnatherum splendens in response to habitat changes in Zhangye wetland . Chin J Plan Ecolo, 41(8): 872-881.
[6] Ting XU, Cheng-Zhang ZHAO, Ling HAN, Wei FENG, Bei-Bei DUAN, Hui-Ling ZHENG. (2017) Correlation between vein density and water use efficiency of Salix matsudana in Zhangye Wetland, China . Chin J Plan Ecolo, 41(7): 761-769.
[7] Ling HAN, Cheng-Zhang ZHAO, Ting XU, Wei FENG, Bei-Bei DUAN. (2017) Relationships between leaf thickness and vein traits of Achnatherum splendens under different soil moisture conditions in a flood plain wetland, Heihe River, China . Chin J Plan Ecolo, 41(5): 529-538.
[8] Xingfeng Si, Yuhao Zhao, Chuanwu Chen, Peng Ren, Di Zeng, Lingbing Wu, Ping Ding. (2017) Beta-diversity partitioning: methods, applications and perspectives . Biodiv Sci, 25(5): 464-480.
[9] Li-Ling JIANG, Cong-Sheng ZENG, Jun-Jiong SHAO, Xu-Hui ZHOU. (2017) Plant nutrient dynamics and stoichiometric homeostasis of invasive species Spartina alterniflora and native Cyperus malaccensis var. brevifolius in the Minjiang River estuarine wetlands . Chin J Plan Ecolo, 41(4): 450-460.
[10] Jinfeng Hao, Xiaohong Zhang, Yusong Wang, Jinlin Liu, Yongchao Zhi, Xinjiang Li. (2017) Diversity investigation and application of DNA barcoding of Acridoidea from Baiyangdian Wetland . Biodiv Sci, 25(4): 409-417.
[11] Bo-Kai DOU, Yi-Dong WANG, Dong-Mei XUE, Zhong-Liang WANG. (2017) Research advancement in the processes and mechanisms of transporting methane by emerged herbaceous plants and hygrophytes . Chin J Plan Ecolo, 41(11): 1208-1218.
[12] Wen-Chang ZHOU, Li-Juan CUI, Yi-Fei WANG, Wei LI, Xiao-Ming KANG. (2016) Characteristics of methane emission fluxes in the Zoigê Plateau wetland on microtopography . Chin J Plan Ecolo, 40(9): 902-911.
[13] Ling HAN, Cheng-Zhang ZHAO, Ting XU, Wei FENG, Bei-Bei DUAN, Hui-Ling ZHENG. (2016) Trade-off between leaf size and vein density of Achnatherum splendens in Zhangye wetland . Chin J Plan Ecolo, 40(8): 788-797.
[14] Zhaoning Gong, Yunbao Fan, Hui Liu, Wenji Zhao. (2016) Chlorophyll Fluorescence Response Characteristics of Typical Emergent Plants Under Different Total Nitrogen Gradient . Chin Bull Bot, 51(5): 631-638.
[15] Xinhui Li,Yanhong Liu,Ye Liu,Yue Xu,Yang Yang,Zehao Shen. (2016) Impacts of geographical distances and environmental differences on the beta diversity of plant communities in the dry-hot valley of the Yuanjiang River . Biodiv Sci, 24(4): 399-406.
Full text