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Table of Content
    Volume 25 Issue 3
    20 March 2017

    Gaoligong Mountains is known for the richest biodiversity. In this issue, Gao et al (see pages 332–339) monitored the biodiversity of mammals and birds in the alpine habitat of Mt. Gaoligong using infrared cameras. The picture shows a male Sclater’s Monal (Lophophorus sclateri) which is listed as a first-category national protected species. (Provided by Ge Gao)

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    Biodiv Sci. 2017, 25 (3):  0-0. 
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    Orginal Article
    Forest dynamics plot is a crosscutting research platform for biodiversity science
    Keping Ma
    Biodiv Sci. 2017, 25 (3):  227-228.  doi:10.17520/biods.2017113
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    On Chinese forest canopy biodiversity monitoring
    Hao Shen, Jianing Cai, Mengjiao Li, Qing Chen, Wanhui Ye, Zhengfeng Wang, Juyu Lian, Liang Song
    Biodiv Sci. 2017, 25 (3):  229-236.  doi:10.17520/biods.2016294
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    As the most direct and active ecological interface of the interaction between forest and its environment, the forest canopy, known as the earth’s “eighth continent”, contains the greatest forest biological diversity, and plays an important role in the formation and maintenance of biodiversity as well as the processes and functions of the ecosystem. However, the forest canopy is highly sensitive to global climate change and human disturbance. In the wake of increasing human activities and global climate change, the forest ecosystem, especially the forest canopy, is facing a serious threat. Therefore, protection of forest canopy biodiversity and sustainable utilization are increasingly important issues in modern ecology research under the scenarios of climate change, and have gained more and more attention in the fields of forest ecology, climatology, and environmental science. Accordingly, in 2015, the Chinese Forest Canopy Biodiversity Monitoring Network was created within the framework of Sino BON. This network includes biodiversity monitoring plots those were or will be equipped with forest canopy cranes. According to international standards, the network will unify monitoring parameters of forest canopy biodiversity using monitoring standards and norms, and conduct long-term monitoring of plant diversity (including epiphytic seed plants and epispore plants), fauna diversity, microbial diversity and their dynamic changes, through large scale zonal forest canopies. Combined with monitoring of the microclimate, we will build four dynamic databases (including a forest canopy microclimate database, canopy plant, canopy arthropod, and canopy microbial). The network is expected to discern the change patterns of forest canopy biodiversity of typical forest ecosystems in China, and to reveal how they influence the functioning of forest ecosystems and respond to global change.

    Overview of the Mammal Diversity Observation Network of Sino BON
    Zhishu Xiao, Xueyou Li, Zuofu Xiang, Ming Li, Xuelong Jiang, Libiao Zhang
    Biodiv Sci. 2017, 25 (3):  237-245.  doi:10.17520/biods.2016159
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    Mammals are key indicators for biodiversity conservation and management due to their high diversity, wide distribution range, and sensitivity to habitat changes. Recently launched by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Mammal Diversity Monitoring Network of Sino BON (Sino BON-Mammal) is a key member of the Biodiversity Monitoring Networks of Sino BON for the monitoring and inventory of terrestrial mammal resources in China. Firstly, this paper reviews several major advances in terrestrial mammal diversity observations in both China and other parts of the world. We then provide an overview of Sino BON-Mammal, including the major scientific goals, monitoring framework, methods, and data products. In addition, we also summarize some working advances of the Mammal Diversity Observation Network of Sino BON since 2011. This overview will be helpful for the development of national observation programs of mammal diversity in China.

    Monitoring and research of amphibians and reptiles diversity in key areas of China
    Cheng Li, Feng Xie, Jing Che, Jianping Jiang
    Biodiv Sci. 2017, 25 (3):  246-254.  doi:10.17520/biods.2016137
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    Amphibians and reptiles are important indicator species of ecosystem health, and they are sensitive to environmental changes and are often regarded as critical “early warning systems”. Many of their populations are undergoing rapid decline and therefore a long-term monitoring system is imperative to identify immediate threats to the animals. Monitoring program on Chinese amphibians began in the Zoige wetlands in 1997. Since 2000, a great number of monitoring studies of amphibians and reptiles have been carried out in mountains of Southwest China, Taiwan, and other regions with rich biodiversity. In 2011, the Ministry of Environmental Protection officially launched the “Amphibian Observation Initiative of China” program, which expanded regional programs to country-wide using both qualitative and quantitative methods to collect amphibian biodiversity data across long-term temporal scales. From an ecosystem viewpoint, long-term monitoring studies should include not only species distribution, richness, and population structure, but also population growth, key life-history traits, species interactions (e.g., predation, competition, and mutualism), community structure, and other dynamic factors. The program “Monitoring and Research of Amphibians and Reptiles in Key Areas of China” will cover 22 key areas with rich biodiversity and high habitat heterogeneity across China. As part of the Chinese Biodiversity Monitoring and Research Network (Sino BON), this program aims to combine intensive field surveys and ecological modeling techniques to evaluate population dynamics and community structures of amphibian and reptile species in the study areas.

    Species composition and community structure of the Yulongxueshan (Jade Dragon Snow Mountains) forest dynamics plot in the cold tem- perate spruce-fir forest, Southwest China
    Hua Huang, Zhifa Chen, Detuan Liu, Guoxing He, Ronghua He, Dezhu Li, Kun Xu
    Biodiv Sci. 2017, 25 (3):  255-264.  doi:10.17520/biods.2016274
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    Spruce-fir forests are one of the best protected areas of forest vegetation occurring on the eastern slope of the Yulongxueshan (Jade Dragon Snow Mountains). To further understand the spruce-fir species composition and community structure, a 25 ha (500 m × 500 m) forest dynamics plot was established in the Yulongxueshan Provincial Nature Reserve by the Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Administration Bureau of Yulongxueshan Provincial Nature Reserve from 2012 to 2014, according to the standards from the Center for Tropical Forest Science (CTFS). In this study, we analyzed the flora, community composition, structure, DBH size-classes and spatial distribution based data collected from all woody (excluding bamboo) plants with DBH ≥ 1 cm. Our results demonstrated that a total of 47,751 free-standing individuals with DBH ≥ 1 cm were recorded, belonging to 62 species, 41 genera and 26 families. The north temperate distribution plant contributed to the most significant floristic characteristics. In the plot, the 18 species with importance value (IV) ≥ 1 contributed 90.24% to the IV of the community. Based on the vertical structure of plant heights, the community was divided into four layers. The dominant species in the canopy layer were Abies forrestii, Picea likiangensis and Quercus guajavifolia, which exhibited a pattern of ridge type and a reverse-J shape in DBH size-classes structure and strong regenerating capacity. Gamblea ciliata var. evodiifolia, Acer pectinatum and Padus brachypoda occupied the sub-canopy layer, and could be the constructive community species in some fragmented habitats. These species were lacking small DBH trees, so their populations are predicted to decline in the future. Sorbus prattii, Viburnum betulifolium and Rhododendron yunnanense dominated the sub-tree layer. In the shrub layer, Berberis fallax consisted of the largest number of individuals and accounting for 59.51% of the total number of individuals; together with the highest importance value, accounting for 22.75% of the total IV, and DBH size-class distribution in a “L” shape.

    Composition and spatio-temporal dynamics of litter fall in a northern tropical karst seasonal rainforest in Nonggang, Guangxi, southern China
    Yili Guo, Dongxing Li, Bin Wang, Yunlin He, Wusheng Xiang, Yuliang Jiang, Xiankun Li
    Biodiv Sci. 2017, 25 (3):  265-274.  doi:10.17520/biods.2016337
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    Litter fall is a significant component of forest ecosystems and has important ecological functions in material cycling and nutrient balance of forest ecosystems. In this study, we studied litter fall production, composition, spatial and temporal dynamics in a 15-ha northern tropical karst seasonal rainforest dynamics plot in Nonggang National Nature Reserve, Guangxi. We set up 90 litter fall traps, and collected litter fall weekly since May 2012. All litter fall in each trap was dried, classified and weighed. We used litter fall data from January 2013 to December 2014. The total annual litter production in 2013 and 2014 was 4,858.0 kg/ha and 4,928.8 kg/ha, respectively. Litter fall of leaves accounted for 85% while other components made up a small amount. Fruit litter fall was significantly higher in 2013. There were two litter fall peaks in each year, one in spring (March and April) and the other occurring in autumn to early winter (between August and November). The peak of fruit litter fall peak occurred in August. There were no significant inter-annual fluctuations in other litter fall components. The prevailing ecological factors of litter fall production were significantly different between 2013 and 2014. Litter fall production was significantly influenced by aspect and mean DBH (diameter at breast height). Composition and spatio-temporal dynamics of litter fall reflected material cycles affected by multiple biotic and abiotic factors. Our results provide basic information to reveal the unique characteristics of material circulation and energy flows in the geological background and geomorphology of karst.

    Species composition and community structure of a 6-ha subtropical evergreen and deciduous broad-leaved mixed forest dynamics plot in the Qizimei Mountains, Hubei Province
    Liangjin Yao, Lan Yao, Yongmei Yi, Xunru Ai, Guang Feng, Juncheng Liu, Yong Lin, Wei Huang, Yi Ding, Runguo Zang
    Biodiv Sci. 2017, 25 (3):  275-284.  doi:10.17520/biods.2016180
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    The subtropical evergreen and deciduous broad-leaved mixed forest (SEDBMF) is one of the most important forest vegetation types in subtropical mountainous regions. It can provide an important foundation to maintain regional ecological security and conserve biodiversity. To further explore maintenance mechanisms of species diversity in SEDBMF, a 6-ha forest dynamics plot was established in Hubei Qizimei Mountains National Nature Reserve, western Hubei Province in 2015. All living woody stems with diameter at breast height (DBH) ≥ 1 cm were tagged, identified, measured, and mapped according to the methods of CTFS (Center for Tropical Forest Science). Community composition, diameter class structure, and characteristics of the spatial structure of dominant species were analyzed. Results showed that there were in total 50,316 stems and 36,596 independent individuals, belonging to 245 species 124 genera 57 families. Seven species that are national protected plants and 76 rare species (density ≤ 1 stem/ha) occurred in this plot. Among those stems, 61.2% of total species and 52.6% of the total stems were deciduous tree species. The structure of DBH size-classes of all stems showed a reverse “J” shape. The average stem DBH was 4.38 cm and there were only 175 stems with DBH ≥ 30 cm in this plot. The top four dominant species in the plot were Carpinus fargesiana, Cyclobalanopsis multinervis, Daphniphyllum macropodum, and Liquidambar acalycina. They nearly distributed all around the plot but large size trees (DBH ≥ 10 cm) showed relatively different spatial distributions. Based on community composition and stem size structure, the Qizimei Mountains forest dynamics plot belongs to the middle stage of secondary forests after anthropogenic disturbance. Consequently, monitoring long-term forest dynamics in this plot will promote a deeper understanding of community assemblage rules and maintenance mechanisms of species diversity during the natural recovery process in SEDBMF.

    Phytoplankton diversity and its relationship with currents in the six bays of Fujian
    Youyin Ye, Peng Xiang, Yu Wang, Mao Lin
    Biodiv Sci. 2017, 25 (3):  285-293.  doi:10.17520/biods.2016315
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    In this study, species composition, species abundance, and seasonal variation of phytoplankton were surveyed in six Fujian bays, including Ningde, Putian, Meizhou, Xiamen, Zhangpu, and Dongshan from 2010 to 2011. During these surveys, 206 species belonging to 102 genera were identified, and diatoms were the dominant species followed by dinoflagellate species. The bay with the most species was Putian (110), followed by Dongshan (106), Xiamen (100), Zhangpu (95), Meizhou (86), and the least number of species was found in Ningde. Using a seasonal analysis, the amount of phytoplankton species in northern bays was higher than that in the southern bays in the spring, and the reverse was true in the fall. Interestingly, the abundance of phytoplankton species was higher in northern bays than in southern bays in the spring and the reverse was found in the fall. The diversity index ranged from 1.15 to 3.05 in the spring, and was highest in Dongshan, and lowest in Ningde. In the fall, the highest diversity index value was found in Dongshan, and the lowest was found in Xiamen. The results indicated that phytoplankton diversity in this area was mainly controlled by the growth and decline of the Fujian-Zhejiang coastal current and the South China Sea warm current. Compared with historical data, the abundance of phytoplankton has increased, and the species which adapt to high nutrient concentrations become main dominant species.

    Bird diversity spatial distribution patterns and hotspots in Maixiu Area of Sanjiangyuan National Nature Reserve, Qinghai Province
    Jianchao Liang, Zhifeng Ding, Chunlan Zhang, Huijian Hu, Hairui Duo, Hong Tang
    Biodiv Sci. 2017, 25 (3):  294-303.  doi:10.17520/biods.2016252
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    Assessing and determining patterns and hotspots of biodiversity are the foundation of biodiversity conservation planning. Situated in the hinterland of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, and being the source of the Yangtze, Yellow and Lancang rivers, the Sanjiangyuan region is considered to be one of the most abundant and concentrated areas of plateau species worldwide. We conducted bird censuses in the Maixiu Area of Sanjiangyuan National Nature Reserve in March, May and August of 2014. We examined the spatial patterns and identified bird community hotspots, and the conservation gaps of current zoning. Our results showed that: (1) there were 89 bird species in the Maixiu Area belonging to 10 orders, 29 families and 57 genera, among which 12 species belonged to the List of Key Protected Wild Animals of China and 11 species were listed in appendices I and II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES); (2) there were differences in bird community composition among habitat types and along an elevational gradient, and bird diversity in low altitude, forest habitats was higher than that found in high altitude, meadow habitats; (3) bird diversity decreased from forest to glaciers and snowberg, and from northeast to northwest and southeast; hotspots of endangered birds were concentrated in southwestern alpine meadows, which differed from the hotspots of the overall bird community; and (4) the core zone of the reserve matched the hotspots of overall birds well, but failed to match the hotspots of endangered birds, which might be not conducive to their protection. Our results may help to make more effective decisions for biodiversity conservation in this region.

    Soil fauna community in different natural vegetation types of Dajinshan Island, Shanghai
    Yali Jin, Bicheng Li, Long Geng, Yun Bu
    Biodiv Sci. 2017, 25 (3):  304-311.  doi:10.17520/biods.2016306
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    Dajinshan Island is part of Jinshan Three-Islands Marine Natural Reserve. Soil on the island has not been polluted by human activities and it is therefore an ideal place to study island ecosystem diversity. To understand the composition and ecological distribution of soil fauna communities in different natural forest vegetation types on Dajinshan Island, the soil fauna communities in three natural forests including bamboo forest, arboreal forest, and shrubbery were investigated during autumn 2015. Each forest included both north slope and south slope regions. A total of 12,769 individuals of soil fauna belonging to 28 groups were collected. The dominant groups were Acari and Collembola, accounting for 70.15% and 19.27%, respectively. The common groups were Protura, Hemiptera, Hymenoptera and Enchytraediae, and they accounted for 7.06% of the total in terms of individual numbers. The dominant groups were Acari (74.26%, 65.32%) and Collembola (16.52%, 22.49%) in both north slope and south slope regions, but differed in common groups and rare groups. The soil fauna communities were different in the three natural forests. In both north and south slope region, the density of soil fauna followed the order of: shrubbery > arboreal forest > bamboo forest, but the number of groups of soil fauna followed the order of: shrubbery > bamboo forest > arboreal forest. Different ecological indexes of soil fauna communities in the three natural forests were different. Shannon-Wiener index, Pielou index, and Simpson index followed the following order: shrubbery > arboreal forest > bamboo forest in both north and south slope regions. The Shannon-Wiener index was significantly different in the three natural forests. The higher soil fauna diversity in shrubbery was probably induced by the favorable microenvironment.

    A method for assessing species diversity conservation value of nature reserves
    Ziliang Guo, Shaohua Xing, Guofa Cui
    Biodiv Sci. 2017, 25 (3):  312-324.  doi:10.17520/biods.2016350
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    In order to provide a scientific basis for upgrading the level of a nature reserve (NR) and selecting the appropriate management type, the conservation priority of NRs should be identified. How to objectively identify conservation priorities has become a key problem. We propose a mathematical method to comprehensively assess species diversity conservation values by comparing existing evaluation indexes and methods, consulting experts and processing indexes quantitatively. This evaluation method includes the following indices: the wild plant diversity conservation value index; wild animal diversity conservation value index; rare and endangered wild plant diversity conservation value index; and the rare and endangered wild animal diversity conservation value index of a NR. Meanwhile, 39 NRs in North China Warm Temperate Region and 67 NRs in Northeast China Temperate Region were selected as case studies to verify methods, based on species diversity data of the NRs. The evaluation results revealed that some provincial NRs could be recommended for an upgrade to national NRs, due to high species diversity conservation values, including the Nandagang Wetland and Liaohe River Source NRs of Hebei, Wuling Mountain NR of Beijing in the North China Warm Temperate Region, the Jingpo Lake, Dajia River, and Cuibei Wetland NRs of Heilongjiang in the Northeast China Temperate Region. The computation method showed a great advantage in comparing species (various groups) diversity conservation values for different NRs and determining the conservation priority sequence. Moreover, there were significant differences in the species diversity conservation value of NR among different natural conservation geographical areas, and types of NRs.

    Seed dispersal by primates
    Yuan Chen, Zheng Wang, Zuofu Xiang
    Biodiv Sci. 2017, 25 (3):  325-331.  doi:10.17520/biods.2016148
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    Seed dispersal facilitates the recruitment of plants, which has profound influences upon the spatial distribution of forest plants and the maintenance of biodiversity. Recently, the role of primates in the process of seed dispersal has been increasingly studied. Primates play an important and special role in plant recruitment and vegetation regeneration in the form of feeding on fruits and dispersing seeds. The selection of different fruits is not only closely related to the quality of fruits and the feeding competition of sympatric animals, but also varies greatly with morphological, physiological, and behavioral features of different primates. According to the processes of fruit treatment, the patterns of seed dispersal by primates can be classified as endozoochory, epizoochory, and synzoochory. These patterns have different effects on the distance of seed dispersal, seed germination, and the establishment of seedlings. The most effective pattern is endozoochory, characterized by long-distance dispersal and high rates of seed germination and seedling establishment. Seed dispersal by many primate species helps to restore degraded habitats. Studies on the ecological processes of seed dispersal by primates and determined factors would be conducive to determine the role of primates in the forest ecological system, the contribution of primates to vegetation regeneration, and to provide theoretical evidence for forest ecosystem management and biodiversity conservation.

    Biodiversity of birds and mammals in alpine habitat of Mt. Gaoligong, Lushui County, Yunnan
    Ge Gao, Bin Wang, Chenxiang He, Xu Luo
    Biodiv Sci. 2017, 25 (3):  332-339.  doi:10.17520/biods.2016276
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    Gaoligong Mountains, known for its richest biodiversity, locates in the Indo-Burma Biodiversity Hotspot. However, our knowledge of the fauna in the alpine habitat of Mt. Gaoligong is still lacking due to complex terrain and poor accessibility. From October 2014 to June 2016, infrared cameras were established to monitor the biodiversity of mammals and birds in the alpine habitat of Mt. Gaoligong, Lushui County, Yunnan. In this survey, we selected three sample plots, North (Jinman), Central (Tingming Lake), and South (Pianma Pass), and in each sample plot, 20 cameras were established for 10,400 camera trapping days and 1,342 effective images were obtained. We identified 18 species of mammals and 44 species of birds belonging to 9 orders and 28 families, including 11 species listed as State Key Protected Wild Animals. The most abundant species was Tarsiger chrysaeus, along with Ithaginis cruentus, Zoothera mollissima, Ochotona forresti, and Ailurus fulgens. Luscinia pectoralis was recorded for the first time in Mt. Gaoligong. A one year survey at the Jinman sample plot revealed that faunal diversity in the alpine habitat had strongly seasonality, i.e. the months from May to October had much higher abundance than the other months. This was a consequence of the high immigration rate to alpine habitats during this period due to altitudinal movement and autumn migration. This survey is the first time to use infrared cameras for alpine faunal surveys at Mt Gaoligong, and the generated data provided a scientific basis for the protection and management of this nature reserve.

    The PPG I classification and pteridophytes of China
    Libing Zhang
    Biodiv Sci. 2017, 25 (3):  340-342.  doi:10.17520/biods.2016372
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