Biodiv Sci ›› 2021, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (10): 1288-1294.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2020490

• Special Feature: Ecosystem Authenticity and Integrity • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Concept and assessment method of ecosystem authenticity: The case of Changbai Mountains area

Nan Jiang1,2, Weihua Xu1,*(), Juanjuan Zhao3, Yi Xiao1   

  1. 1 State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085
    2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
    3 College of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715
  • Received:2020-12-31 Accepted:2021-06-25 Online:2021-10-20 Published:2021-10-20
  • Contact: Weihua Xu


Aims: National parks have recently been listed as protected areas in China's official documents to protect the authenticity and integrity of natural ecosystems. However, it is unclear how ecosystem authenticity is defined, let alone how to protect it. In this paper, we tried to define the concept of ecosystem authenticity, discuss its significance to conservation, and explore the assessment method to provide a scientific guide for the management and planning of protected areas.
Method: The study area is located in the center of Changbai Mountains where the most typical and well-preserved temperate mountain forest develops in Eastern Eurasia. We evaluated the forest ecosystems authenticity from the perspective of vegetation using forest inventory data of Jilin Province. Four indicators—forest origin, dominant tree, age of stand, unit stock volume—were selected to construct the authenticity assessment index system for forest ecosystems. At the same time, we established the weight coefficient, authenticity value calculation formula and grading standard.
Results: The forest ecosystem authenticity value of the whole study area was 0.69. The ecosystem authenticity values for Helong City, Antu County, Fusong County, Linjiang City and Korean Autonomous County of Changbai were 0.70, 0.71, 0.67, 0.60 and 0.63, respectively. Ecosystem authenticity is divided into five levels with an area ratio of 9 : 44 : 33 : 11 : 3 in order of authenticity from highest to lowest, indicating 53% are in very high and high levels. In general, the highest level of authenticity for the forest was in the main peak of Changbai Mountains, and gradually decreased going north, west, and south.
Conclusion: Ecosystem authenticity refers to the degree that an ecosystem from a particular region maintains its native state after various natural and human disturbances. It is convenient and generalizable to evaluate the authenticity of the forest ecosystem by using forest inventory data from the perspective of vegetation. Further research should give attention to the authenticity index system and the assessment method of different scales and components based on a comprehensive understanding of the primitive status of the ecosystem.

Key words: authenticity, forest ecosystem, Changbai Mountains, national park