Biodiv Sci ›› 2022, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (3): 21324.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2021324

Special Issue: 昆虫多样性与生态功能

• Original Papers: Animal Diversity • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Effects of termite activities on a secondary forest and plantations in the mid-subtropical zone

Dingyi Wang1,2, Xiangyin Ni1,3, Kai Yue1,3, Xiaoyue Zhang3, Zijia Kang3, Ling Zhu3, Fuzhong Wu1,3,*()   

  1. 1 Fujian Provincial Key Laboratory for Plant Eco-physiology, Fujian Normal University, Fuzhou 350007
    2 School of Geographical Science, Fujian Normal University, Fuzhou 350007
    3 State Key Laboratory for Subtropical Mountain Ecology of the Ministry of Science and Technology and Fujian Province, Fujian Normal University, Fuzhou 350007
  • Received:2021-08-17 Accepted:2022-01-14 Online:2022-03-20 Published:2022-02-07
  • Contact: Fuzhong Wu


Aims Termites are common forest insects in subtropical forests, however, little attention has been paid to their damage on forests or contribution to soil carbon cycles through their effect on litter and wood decomposition in plantations and secondary forests in subtropical zones. Here, we investigated the range of termite activities in three typical types of forests in subtropical regions, i.e., Cunninghamia lanceolataplantation, Castanopsis carlesii plantation, and C. carlesiisecondary forest.

Methods We surveyed the foraging height and area of termite activities on tree stems in the three forest types to assess the effects of termite damage. We also investigated litter layer characteristics and the degree to which it was affected by termites to evaluate the role of termites in litter decomposition.

Results We found that: (1) termite activities are common in three forest types, while higher foraging preference occurred in plantations than in secondary forests; (2) the foraging area in stems of Castanopsis carlesiisecondary forests was only 1.65% and 0.59‰ of those in Castanopsis carlesii and Cunninghamia lanceolataplantations, respectively, with preference of termites on tree stems in Cunninghamia lanceolatacompared with Castanopsis carlesiiplantations; (3) the foraging area and height of termites in Cunninghamia lanceolataplantation are 27.7 and 9.2 times of those in Castanopsis carlesiiplantation, and the rate of the affected area of 0-50, 50-100, 100-150, 150-200 cm tree stem is 4 : 3 : 2 : 1 in Cunninghamia lanceolata, respectively, but are 99 : 1 in the 1 m height stem of Castanopsis carlesii; (4) termite activities were widely found in foliar litter as well as dead and fallen wood in all secondary forests and plantations, indicating an important role in the process of decomposition.

Conclusion Our results indicate that termites may have higher effects on plantations than secondary forests and have negative effects in damaging tree stems. Termites also likely promote the decomposition of foliar litter and dead wood in secondary forest. These results will provide theoretical support for the management of Cunninghamia lanceolata plantations in the mid-subtropical zone.

Key words: termite, Cunninghamia lanceolata, secondary forest, plantation, biodiversity