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 E-mail:guangchun8099@gmail.com

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)"

水域
Water
泥滩地
Mudflat
芦苇
Reed marsh
林地
Poplar plantation
草滩
Wet meadow
其他
Others
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"

类型
Type
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
Individuals
种类
Species
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
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