Biodiversity Science ›› 2019, Vol. 27 ›› Issue (6): 619-629.doi: 10.17520/biods.2019107

• Original Papers • Previous Article     Next Article

Vertical structure and its biodiversity in a subtropical evergreen broad- leaved forest at Dinghushan in Guangdong Province, China

Gui Xujun1, 2, 3, Lian Juyu1, 2, *(), Zhang Ruyun1, 2, 3, Li Yanpeng1, 2, 3, Shen Hao1, 2, Ni Yunlong1, 2, 3, Ye Wanhui1, 2   

  1. 1 Key Laboratory of Vegetation Restoration and Management of Degraded Ecosystems, South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510650
    2 Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Applied Botany, South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510650
    3 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
  • Received:2019-03-28 Accepted:2019-05-28 Online:2019-07-08
  • Lian Juyu E-mail:lianjy@scbg.ac.cn

Community structure plays a fundamental role in forest ecosystems as one of the basic mechanisms underlying community assembly. Community structure includes both horizontal and vertical structure. We stratified the vertical structure of a lower subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest at Dinghushan in Guangdong Province, China by surveying each individual with DBH ≥ 1 cm via a canopy crane, and then explored α diversity within each layer, as well as β diversity between layers. We found that: (1) The vertical structure of the forest was stratified into five layers; from bottom to top, the shrub, sub-canopy, lower canopy, middle canopy, and upper canopy correspond to the traditionally defined vertical levels of a forest community. (2) Layer α diversity decreased with height, and the Pielou evenness index was largest in the lower canopy. (3) The β diversity of layers relative to the shrub layer increased with height. Using the POD framework, the differences between layer community compositions were mainly attributed to differences in species richness. However, the lower canopy showed increased species replacement and decreased richness difference relative to the middle canopy layer when compared with other neighbouring layers. (4) Air temperature, light intensity and relative humidity increased with layer height, and the most dramatic change in light occurred in the middle canopy. These microenvironmental features may play an important role in the formation of vertical hierarchy in the forest, with light intensity as the largest factor.

Key words: forest structure, vertical structure, β diversity, β diversity partitioning, biodiversity, stratification, community assembly

Fig. 1

The judgment index partitioning optimal groups. (a) Attribution of the objects and the corresponding ssi (simple structure index) values for different number of groups. The panel on the left shows the groups that each object is categorized with different conditions and different groups were distinguished by different colors; the panel on the right shows the value of ssi for different number of groups. (b) Value of sum of squares within groups for different number of groups."

Table 1

Species abundance and richness of each vertical layer in the crane plot of Dinghushan"

最低树高
Minimum height (m)
最高树高
Maximum height (m)
多度
Abundance
物种丰富度
Species richness
优势种例举(多度, 最大胸径)
Dominant species (abundance, maximum DBH)
灌木层
Shrub
1.4 3.9 1,966 89 银柴
Aporosa dioica (207, 7.3)
黄果厚壳桂
Cryptocarya concinna (251, 4.5)
亚冠层
Sub-canopy
4.0 6.7 1,173 75 鸭脚木
Schefflera octophylla (161, 16.0)
银柴
Aporosa dioica (122, 10.1)
林冠下层
Lower canopy
6.8 11.2 503 56 荷木
Schima superba (54, 39.4)
鸭脚木
Schefflera octophylla (51, 18.8)
林冠中层
Middle canopy
11.3 17.2 271 27 荷木
Schima superba (101, 41.9)
锥栗
Castanopsis chinensis (31, 41.0)
林冠上层
Upper canopy
17.4 27.1 226 17 荷木
Schima superba (111, 66.0)
马尾松
Pinus massoniana (34, 47.1)
总体
Total
- - 4,140 121 荷木
Schima superba (301,49.0)
马尾松
Pinus massoniana (66, 47.1)

Table 2

Comparison of species component between shrub and other layers as well as among neighbouring layers in pair in the crane plot of Dinghushan"

共有种总数量
Generalist (%)
特有种总数量
Specialist (%)
太少未能分类
Too rare to clarify (%)
总计
Total
灌木层和亚冠层 Shrub vs sub-canopy 24 (23.08) 4 (3.98) 76 (73.08) 104
灌木层和林冠下层 Shrub vs lower canopy 17 (16.50) 7 (6.79) 79 (76.70) 103
灌木层和林冠中层 Shrub vs middle canopy 8 (8.42) 11 (11.58) 76 (80.00) 95
灌木层和林冠上层 Shrub vs upper canopy 1 (1.06) 14 (14.89) 79 (84.08) 94
亚冠层和林冠下层 Sub-canopy vs lower canopy 19 (20.43) 3 (3.23) 71 (76.34) 93
林冠下层和林冠中层 Lower canopy vs middle canopy 10 (17.24) 4 (6.89) 44 (75.86) 58
林冠中层和林冠上层 Middle canopy vs upper canopy 5 (21.80) 4 (3.13) 23 (75.00) 32

Table 3

Species α diversity of each layer in the crane plot of Dinghushan"

林层
Layers
Shannon-Wiener指数
Shannon-Wiener
index
Peliou均匀度指数
Peliou evenness index
灌木层 Shrub 2.556 ± 0.335a 0.910 ± 0.040a
亚冠层 Sub-canopy 2.300 ± 0.529b 0.917 ± 0.033ab
林冠下层 Lower canopy 1.955 ± 0.334c 0.940 ± 0.027ab
林冠中层 Middle canopy 1.440 ± 0.497d 0.925 ± 0.232ab
林冠上层 Upper canopy 1.172 ± 0.519e 0.896 ± 0.275b

Fig. 2

Results of β diversity (S?rensen dissimilarity) and their partitions based on species abundance data of each layers in the crane plot of Dinghushan. (a) Layers relative to the shrub layer. (b) Neighbouring layers. S, Shrub; SC, Sub-canopy; LC, Lower canopy; MC, Middle canopy; UC, Upper canopy."

Fig. 3

Tree height scatter points of each individual in the crane plot of Dinghushan"

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