Biodiv Sci ›› 2022, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (10): 22504.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2022504

• Reviews • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Chinese Forest Biodiversity Monitoring Network (CForBio): Twenty years of exploring community assembly mechanisms and prospects for future research

Xiangcheng Mi1#, Xugao Wang2#, Guochun Shen3#, Xubin Liu4, Xiaoyang Song5, Xiujuan Qiao6, Gang Feng7, Jie Yang5, Zikun Mao2, Xuehong Xu1, Keping Ma1,*()   

  1. 1. Zhejiang Qianjiangyuan Forest Biodiversity National Observation and Research Station, State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Beijing 100093
    2. CAS Key Laboratory of Forest Ecology and Management, Key Laboratory of Terrestrial Ecosystem Carbon Neutrality, Liaoning Province, Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang 110016
    3. Zhejiang Tiantong Forest Ecosystem National Observation and Research Station, School of Ecological and Environmental Sciences, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241
    4. School of Life Sciences and State Key Laboratory of Biocontrol, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275
    5. CAS Key Laboratory of Tropical Forest Ecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mengla, Yunnan 666303
    6. Key Laboratory of Aquatic Botany and Watershed Ecology, Wuhan Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430074
    7. Ministry of Education Key Laboratory of Ecology and Resource Use of the Mongolian Plateau and Inner Mongolia Key Laboratory of Grassland Ecology, School of Ecology and Environment, Inner Mongolia University, Hohhot 010021
  • Received:2022-08-31 Accepted:2022-10-27 Online:2022-10-20 Published:2022-11-08
  • Contact: Keping Ma
  • About author:First author contact:# Co-first authors


Background & Aim: Since 2004, the Chinese Forest Biodiversity Monitoring Network (CForBio) has established 23 large forest dynamics plots along a latitude gradient ranging from cold temperate forests to tropical forests in China. The forest dynamics plots include about 1,893 species, representing one-sixth of the known tree diversity in China. With > 700 papers and > 400 papers published in international journals, CForBio researchers have made significant contributions toward understanding mechanisms of forest community assembly. This review summarizes the progresses achieved by CForBio researchers, including knowledge of the spatiotemporal patterns of plant communities, the roles of habitat filtering, biotic interactions, effects of dispersal limitation and regional effects in structuring plant communities, and the application of new technologies in understanding community assembly.
Review Results: (1) Habitat filtering and dispersal limitation jointly affect the diversity patterns such as species-area relationship and β diversity, but their relative effects vary among plots and across scales. (2) Habitat filtering generally plays an important role in forest community assembly. However, it is difficult to quantify its relative importance. (3) Conspecific negative density dependence (CNDD) is prevalent in these CForBio plots across latitudes. In addition, the strength of CNDD is found to be mediated by plant mycorrhizal type, and varies with life history, functional traits and environmental change. (4) Dispersal limitation predominantly shapes community structure at local scales, whereas regional effects, such as regional pool size and geological history, strongly determine spatial patterns of biodiversity among communities over broader biogeographic regions. (5) New technologies provide novel ways to advance studies of community assembly from both macro and micro-perspectives. On one hand, remote sensing enables us to monitor forest community biodiversity from local to large scales in a cost-effective way. On the other hand, transcriptomics and metabolomics enable us to precisely infer molecular mechanisms of community assembly.
Perspectives: This review also discusses the limitations in current community assembly studies and proposes some issues and potential topics to be considered for future studies. We discuss the vital role of CForBio in promoting the application and future development of community assembly studies, including (1) the spatiotemporal scale problem; (2) the multi-dimensional (taxonomic, functional, and phylogenetic diversity) and multi-trophic biotic interactions; (3) the advantages of interdisciplinary and multipath approaches such as the “observational evidence-controlled experiment- ecosystem model” methodology; (4) the effect of global change on community assembly; and (5) the applications of community assembly findings for addressing forest management challenges. In conclusion, the long-term forest biodiversity monitoring is fundamental for a comprehensive understanding of community assembly and serves as an important platform for bridging studies on theories of assembly and on forest management challenges.

Key words: forest biodiversity, community assembly, pattern, habitat filtering, biotic interaction, dispersal limitation