Biodiv Sci ›› 2019, Vol. 27 ›› Issue (12): 1269-1278.DOI: 10.17520/biods.2019224

• Original Papers: Plant Diversity •     Next Articles

Explaining the diversity and endemic patterns based on phylogenetic approach for woody plants of the Loess Plateau

Xuerui Dong1, Hong Zhang2, Minggang Zhang1,*()   

  1. 1 Institute of Loess Plateau, Shanxi University, Taiyuan 030006
    2 College of Environmental and Resource Sciences, Shanxi University, Taiyuan 030006
  • Received:2019-07-10 Accepted:2019-12-12 Online:2019-12-20 Published:2019-12-24
  • Contact: Zhang Minggang


The Loess Plateau is home to various vegetation types as it contains famous transitional forests, grasslands, and deserts. Due to natural resource limitation and intensive human activities, this natural environment faces serious conservation challenges. In order to effectively conserve this natural environment, spatial mapping of species diversity is key to conservation efforts. In this study, we first modeled the potential distribution of 293 woody species based on specimen records and climate data and then calculated the spatial patterns of species richness and weighted endemism. Secondly, we calculated phylogenetic diversity and phylogenetic endemism and identified environmental drivers of the observed spatial patterns. Finally, we analyzed endemism types and tested their significance. Our results suggest that biodiversity hotspots are distributed on the southern edge of the Loess Plateau and are highly related to the flora of Qinling Mountains. The biodiversity patterns of this transitional region are driven by annual precipitation and minimum temperature of coldest month. Endemism hotspots were found on the southern edge of the Loess Plateau, which contain paleo-endemism and mixed-endemism, but no neo-endemism. We concluded that most woody species of the Loess Plateau originated in tropical or subtropical regions, and the species richness patterns of this region are maintained by dispersal rather than speciation. Our study indicated the importance of incorporating the evolutionary history in biodiversity conservation.

Key words: diversity distribution pattern, phylogeny, climatic factors, neo-endemism, paleo-endemism, woody plant, Loess Plateau