Biodiv Sci ›› 2015, Vol. 23 ›› Issue (6): 815-823.DOI: 10.17520/biods.2015024

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Community composition and structure of Rhododendron simsii shrubland in the Dawei Mountain, Hunan Province

Jiaxiang Li1,2,3, Xu Zhang2, Zongqiang Xie1,*(), Congfa Lu4, Xiangyang Tu5, Yuan Xun6   

  1. 1 State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093
    2 College of Forestry, Central South University of Forestry and Technology, Changsha 410004
    3 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
    4 Liuyang Forestry Bureau, Liuyang, Hunan 410300
    5 Dawei Mountain National Forest Park, Liuyang, Hunan 410309
    6 Administration Bureau of Dawei Mountain Nature Reserve, Liuyang, Hunan 410309
  • Received:2015-01-25 Accepted:2015-08-29 Online:2015-11-20 Published:2015-12-02
  • Contact: Xie Zongqiang


As one of the most important natural vegetation types of terrestrial ecosystems, shrublands play an important role in vegetation succession, biodiversity conservation and ecological balance. Based on the data collected in six Rhododendron simsii shrubland permanent plots established in the Dawei Mountain Nature Reserve in Liuyang, Hunan Province, China in 2012, we analyzed species composition and community structure. The results were as follows: There were 36 families, 50 genera and 58 vascular plant species including 19 woody species and 39 herbaceous species in the community without woody vine species. Floristic composition was dominated by the temperate elements and affected strongly by tropical and subtropical flora. The physiognomy was short and the vertical structure of the community was distinct with obvious shrub and herb layers. Most individuals of shrub species were concentrated in the 1-2 m height class. The shrubland was a type of the montane mesophilius deciduous broad-leaved thickets, belonging to the temperate deciduous broad-leaved thicket formation group. The life-form spectrum reflected the cold climatic conditions due to the high percentage of phaenerophytes and hemicryptophytes in the community. There were obvious dominant species in the community that had a high stability and uniformity. The analysis of height and base area classes of the shrub layer indicated mid-size individuals had conservative life strategies in this community, and R. simsii was a future declining population. Generally, the results suggest that R. simsii shrubland is at an early or middle successional stage and will develop into a subtropical montane evergreen and deciduous broad-leaved mixed forest or evergreen broad-leaved forest.

Key words: montane shrubland, temperate deciduous broad-leaved shrubland, declining population, early successional stage, subtropics