Biodiv Sci ›› 2020, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (6): 668-677.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2019392

• Original Papers: Plant Diversity • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Plant diversity and species replacement in Chinese Buddhist temples

Xinyang Wang,Cheng Jin,Li Huang,Lihua Zhou,Mingming Zheng,Shenhua Qian,Yongchuan Yang()   

  1. Key Laboratory of the Three Gorges Reservoir Region’s Eco-Environment, Ministry of Education, Chongqing University, Chongqing 400045
  • Received:2019-12-07 Accepted:2020-02-14 Online:2020-06-20 Published:2020-08-19
  • Contact: Yongchuan Yang


Buddhism is one of the main religions in China. As the material carrier of Buddhist culture, Buddhist temples play an important role in preserving regional biodiversity. In this study, we cataloged the tree species in 191 temples across China. Then, we analyzed the species composition, geographical distribution pattern, and the impact factors of Buddhist tree species distribution in different regions to clarify the role of temples in biodiversity conservation. The results showed that: (1) From across 191 temples, we observed a total of 1,059 tree species, belonging to 116 families and 410 genera with most species (n = 773) occurred in only one or two temples. (2) Temple gardens were rich in native and threatened tree species (n = 94), and thus, are of high biodiversity conservation value. (3) The tree species composition of Buddhist temples in different climatic zones was quite different. (4) Tree species across temples had a distinct replacement phenomenon where original Buddhist tree species were gradually replaced by native species similar to the native flora, from south to north. The above results suggest that Chinese temples have very rich plant resource and that their effective protection may play a positive role in maintaining regional biodiversity and improving urban greening.

Key words: temple gardens, Buddhist tree species, Buddhist tree species replacement, biodiversity conservation