Biodiv Sci ›› 2011, Vol. 19 ›› Issue (2): 134-142.DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2011.09295

Special Issue: 中国的森林生物多样性监测

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Habitat associations of woody plant species in Baishanzu subtropical broad-leaved evergreen forest

Wei Wang1, Zhengrong Luo1, Rongfei Zhou2, Daming Xu2, Jianguo Ai3, Bingyang Ding4,*()   

  1. 1 College of Life Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058
    2 Management of Baishanzu, Fengyangshan-Baishanzu National Nature Reserve, Qingyuan, Zhejiang 323800
    3 School of Forestry and Biotechnology, Zhejiang A & F University, Lin’an, Zhejiang 311300
    4 College of Life and Environmental Science, Wenzhou University, Wenzhou, Zhejiang 325035
  • Received:2010-12-03 Accepted:2011-02-23 Online:2011-03-20 Published:2011-06-01
  • Contact: Bingyang Ding


Both unified neutral theory and niche theory have played an important role in understanding the mechanisms of species coexistence in tropical rain forests. Using Torus-translation tests, we examined the relationships between microtopography (elevation, convexity, and slope) and the distribution of 89 wood species with ≥5 individuals and diameter at breast height (DBH) ≥ 1.0 cm in a 5-ha permanent plot in a subtropical broad-leaved evergreen forest in Baishanzu, Zhejiang Province. We classified plants into three growth stages (sapling, juvenile and mature stages) based on their diameter-classes, and compared relationships between microtopography and the distribution of plants in different growth stages for each species. Species with less than 40 individuals always showed few associations with their habitats, while most common species in the 89 studied showed significant associations with their habitats. The majority of species exhibited shifts in habitat preference among growth stages; the exceptions were Rhododendron latoucheae, Cyclobalanopsis stewardiana and Cleyera pachyphylla, whose associations with habitats were similar at all stages. Our study suggests that topographical differentiation is important for maintaining species diversity in this subtropical broad-leaved evergreen forest, and that habitat associations of species change ontogenetically.

Key words: broad-leaved evergreen forest, habitat preference, topography, development stages, species distribution, niche theory