Biodiv Sci ›› 2017, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (11): 1202-1212.DOI: 10.17520/biods.2016336

• Original Papers: Plant Diversity • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Plant body size patterns of mountainous trees and grassland herbs in Xinjiang region, China

Liping Li1,*(), Anwar Mohammat2, Nurbay Abdusalih3, Nurjamal Sarbay3, Huawei Wan4   

  1. 1 Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101
    2 Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011
    3 Key Laboratory of Oasis Ecology of Ministry of Education, College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, Xinjiang University, Urumqi 830046
    4 Satellite Environment Center, Ministry of Environmental Protection, Beijing 100094
  • Received:2016-11-24 Accepted:2017-10-23 Online:2017-11-20 Published:2017-11-20
  • Contact: Li Liping


Species body size is an important trait, however, currently the correlations of body size with range size and species richness are still not very clear, especially for plants. With plant distribution and plot investigation data in the Xinjiang region of China, we explored plant body size patterns and tested the relationship between plant body size and range size, both at the species and regional scale. Further, the relationship of plant body size and plant richness was also tested at the regional scale. In this study, tree body size of forests was indicated using the average diameter at breast height (DBH), and the herbaceous plant body size of grasslands was indicated using the average height based on our plot investigation. Regional plant body size was the average value of all measured plants distributed in each grid cell (0.1° × 0.1°). We found that: (1) At the species scale, tree body size was positively correlated with range size characteristics, i.e., trees that spread wider were normally larger in size than those in narrower ranges; herb body size displayed a similar pattern with lower correlation coefficients; (2) At the regional scale, a region with larger average tree body size tended to have lower regional average plant range size and vice versa; the regional herb body size of grasslands did not significantly correlate with the regional average plant range size; (3) At the regional scale, tree body size and herb body size both positively correlated with regional plant richness. We concluded that at the species and regional scale, for different vegetation, the plant body size may have different patterns and correlate differently with range size characteristics.

Key words: plant body size, plant range size, species scale, regional scale, plant richness, Xinjiang