Biodiv Sci ›› 2020, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (12): 1546-1557.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2020092

• Original Papers • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Canopy structure is an important factor driving local-scale woody plant functional beta diversity

Changyan Zhou1,2, Bin Wang1,3, Yun Deng1,2,4, Junjie Wu5, Min Cao1,*, Luxiang Lin1,4,*()   

  1. 1. CAS Key Laboratory of Tropical Forest Ecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650223
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
    3. School of Ecology and Environmental Sciences & Yunnan Key Laboratory for Plateau Mountain Ecology and Restoration of Degraded Environments, Yunnan University, Kunming 650091;
    4. National Forest Ecosystem Research Station at Xishuangbanna, Mengla, Yunnan 666303
    5. College of Agriculture and Biology, Dali University, Dali, Yunnan 671003
  • Received:2020-03-09 Accepted:2020-06-09 Online:2020-12-20 Published:2020-09-01
  • Contact: Min Cao,Luxiang Lin


Functional beta diversity refers to the variation of functional composition between communities. Exploring the mechanisms underlying functional beta diversity is a central theme in community ecology. We measured 11 important functional traits of woody plants in 20 ha forest dynamics plot in Xishuangbanna tropical seasonal rainforest and used abundance-weighted mean nearest neighbor trait distance to quantify the functional beta diversity at different sampling scales. We revealed the relative importance of canopy structure, environmental heterogeneity, and spatial distance on functional beta diversity using multiple regressions on distance matrices. Our results showed that, for all woody plant individuals with DBH ≥ 1 cm, the best model to explain the functional beta diversity was one including canopy structure, environment, and spatial distance. At each of the three sampling scales, canopy structure and environment had relatively large explanatory power and increased with increasing sampling scale, while the relative importance of spatial distance was negligible. Our findings corroborate that environmental heterogeneity and spatial distance are the two main factors driving functional beta diversity, and we provide new mechanistic insights by including the effects of canopy cover at local scales.

Key words: environmental heterogeneity, spatial distance, tropical seasonal rainforest, forest dynamics plot, Xishuangbanna