Biodiv Sci ›› 2017, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (1): 11-22.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2016290

• Original Papers: Plant Diversity • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Relationships between established seedling survival and growth in evergreen broad-leaved forest in Tiantong

Heming Liu1,2, Zunping Ma1,2, Qingsong Yang1,2, Xiaofeng Fang1,2, Qingkai Lin1,2, Yi Zong1,2, 1,2, Xihua Wang1,2,*()   

  1. 1 School of Ecological and Environmental Sciences, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241
    2 Tiantong National Forest Ecosystem Observation and Research Station, Ningbo, Zhejiang 315114
  • Received:2016-10-05 Accepted:2016-11-30 Online:2017-01-20 Published:2017-02-08
  • Contact: Wang Xihua


Community seedling regeneration is a crucial process for maintaining species coexistence. The stage from which an established seedling becomes a new reproductive individual is one of the most important components of community regeneration, and influences the community recruitment pattern. However, the short-term mortality of established seedlings is lower than newly germinated seedlings, and previous studies have not been able to analyze the effect of biotic neighborhoods and abiotic micro-habitat factors on established seedling survival perfectly. Therefore, we suggest that the growth status of established seedlings could predict established seedling survival during development, and analyze the effects of these biotic and abiotic factors on established seedling growth, in order to indirectly estimate their effects on established seedling survival. To test this hypothesis, we selected established seedlings in the 20 ha forest dynamics plot in Tiantong as samples. Then, we used generalized linear mixed models to assess the effects of relative growth rate, biotic neighborhood factors (conspecific/heterospecific adult neighborhood indices, density of conspecific/heterospecific seedling neighbors, the amount of conspecific/heterospecific leaf litter from neighbors) and abiotic micro-habitat factors (canopy openness, herbaceous coverage, elevation, slope, aspect, pH value, total nitrogen and total phosphorus in the soil) on short-term established seedling survival rates. We used linear mixed models to assess the effects of biotic neighborhood factors and abiotic micro-habitat factors on relative growth rates of established seedlings. Results showed that relative growth rates have a significant, positive effect on established seedling survival, and this factor is the most important factor among potential influencing factors. In addition, canopy openness, as only one significant influencing factor, has a positive effect on relative growth rates of established seedlings. These results suggest that the growth status of seedlings could predict established seedling survival during development. Meanwhile, established seedlings prefer to grow in habitat with better light. Therefore, the established seedling survival rate would be higher in the habitat with better light through higher relative growth rates.

Key words: survival rate, relative growth rate, generalized linear mixed models, canopy openness, forest dynamics plot