Biodiv Sci ›› 2010, Vol. 18 ›› Issue (5): 489-496.DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2010.489

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Spatial and temporal patterns of natural forest soil seed banks on Tiantong Mountain

Binjie Ge1; Yongchuan Yang2,3*; Hongqing Li1*   

  1. 1 School of Life Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062
    2 Key Lab of Three Gorges Reservoir Region’s Eco-Environment, Chongqing University, Ministry of Education, Chongqing 400045

    3 Faculty of Urban Construction and Environmental Engineering, Chongqing University, Chongqing 400045
  • Received:2010-01-08 Online:2010-09-20 Published:2010-09-20
  • Contact: Yongchuan Yang;Hongqing Li


Soil seed bank represents a pool of potential species for a plant community. We analyzed spatio- temporal patterns of natural forest seed banks on Mt. Tiantong, a typically hilly region in East China. Eight micro-landform units, i.e., second and third crest slopes, higher-, middle- and lower-upper sideslope, lower sideslope, foot slope, and flood terrace were used as classes in our analyses. Seeds were identified from a total of 1,960 samples collected in September 2008, December 2008, March 2009 and June 2009. The results are summarized as follows: (1) The total number of viable seeds was 5,024 and 68 taxa were identified, among which 65 species were identified to species level from the samples. Among these identified species 48 were present in the above-ground vegetation and the Czekanowski community similarity was 0.45. Deciduous broad-leaved trees and evergreen broad-leaved sub-canopy trees were the main components of soil seed banks according to the number of seeds and species. (2) The reserves on crest slopes and lower hillside areas were higher than those on the upper sideslopes (H-US, M-US and L-US). Carpinus viminea and Eurya loquaiana dominated in nearly all the micro-landforms. Otherwise, evergreen trees such as E. muricata, Ilex buergeri, Symplocos heishanensis and S. setchuensis were the dominant species in upper hillside areas, while deciduous trees such as Choerospondias axillaris, Acer olivaceum, Celtis vandervoetiana dominated in lower hillside areas. (3) Reserves of four vertical soil layers varied in size, with the peak at 0–2 cm soil layer, followed by 2–5 cm soil layer and 5–10 cm soil layer, while those in the litter layer were the smallest. (4)The soil seed banks showed seasonal variation, with the peak of reserves found in December 2008, followed by March 2009, September 2008 and June 2009 in descending order.