Biodiv Sci ›› 2017, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (3): 265-274.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2016337

• Special Feature: Biodiversity Monitoring • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Composition and spatio-temporal dynamics of litter fall in a northern tropical karst seasonal rainforest in Nonggang, Guangxi, southern China

Yili Guo1,2, Dongxing Li1,2, Bin Wang1,2, Yunlin He1,2, Wusheng Xiang1,2, Yuliang Jiang1,2, Xiankun Li1,2,*()   

  1. 1 Guangxi Key Laboratory of Plant Conservation and Restoration Ecology in Karst Terrain, Guangxi Institute of Botany, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guilin, Guangxi 541006
    2 Guangxi Youyiguan Forest Ecosystem National Research Station, Pingxiang, Guangxi 532699
  • Received:2016-11-28 Accepted:2017-01-23 Online:2017-03-20 Published:2017-04-07
  • Contact: Li Xiankun


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.

Key words: karst seasonal rainforest, litter fall, components, ecological factors, Nonggang 15 ha forest dynamics plot