Biodiv Sci ›› 2023, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (6): 22518.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2022518

• Original Papers: Plant Diversity • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Species and structural diversity of forest communities in Qianjiangyuan National Park and their impacts on the occurrence of black muntjac (Muntiacus crinifrons)

Chenyang Lou1,2,3, Haibao Ren3, Xiaonan Chen4, Xiangcheng Mi3, Ran Tong1, Nianfu Zhu1, Lei Chen3, Tonggui Wu1,*(), Xiaoli Shen3,*()   

  1. 1. Research Institute of Sub-tropical Forestry, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Fuyang, Zhejiang 311400
    2. Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing 210037
    3. State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093
    4. Qianjiangyuan National Park Administration, Kaihua, Zhejiang 324300


Aims: The species diversity and structural diversity of forest communities are important factors influencing wildlife habitat selection. Most previous studies on habitat characteristics of vulnerable Muntiacus crinifrons have investigated the effect of forest type on the occurrence of the species, while studies examining the effect of microhabitat factors on the occurrence of the species are relatively scarce.

Methods: Based on data from 164 sites collected by infrared camera monitoring (camera-trapping) and 20 m × 20 m fixed vegetation plots in Qianjiangyuan National Park, this study investigated the characteristics of woody plant communities of four major forest types (evergreen broad-leaved forest, evergreen and deciduous broad-leaved mixed forest, coniferous and broad-leaved mixed forest, and coniferous forest) in two dimensions: species diversity (the number of different plant species in a particular area) and structural diversity (the relative degree of diversity or complexity of vegetation in a habitat area), and their relation to the presence of black muntjac.

Results: Statistical results indicated that the woody plant diversity of evergreen broad-leaved forest was significantly higher than that of coniferous forest (P < 0.05), and its structural diversity was significantly higher than that of evergreen and deciduous broad-leaved mixed forest, coniferous and broad-leaved mixed forest, coniferous forest (P < 0.05). There were no significant differences in species and structural diversity among the remaining forest types. No correlation between species and structural diversity of woody plants was found at our sample plots. The analysis of the microhabitat characteristics of black muntjac showed that the species preferred evergreen broad-leaved forest and evergreen and deciduous broad-leaved mixed forest. The presence of black muntjac increased with the greater elevation and slope, which was also positively correlated with the DBH Shannon diversity of woody species and the average DBH of understory plants (woody plants with DBH < 5 cm). The higher the Shannon diversity index of woody plant diameter at breast height and the average diameter at breast height of woody plants < 5 cm, the higher the probability of black muntjac occurrence.

Conclusion: Our results show that structural diversity has a real impact on black muntjac populations. Black muntjac prefers forests with high structural diversity coupled with dense growth of individual understory vegetation at high elevation (between 800-1,000 m a.s.l.) and steep areas. Our findings have important implications for habitat restoration and management as well as corridor site selection and construction for black muntjac in Qianjiangyuan National Park.

Key words: sub-tropical forest, species diversity, structural diversity, Muntiacus crinifrons, camera-trapping