Biodiv Sci ›› 2013, Vol. 21 ›› Issue (3): 296-305.  DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2013.10207

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Priority plant communities for conservation in Northwest Yunnan

Yanni Zhang, Zhiming Zhang, Yupeng Geng, Xiaokun Ou*(), Shengjing Peng, Wenli Wang, Xin Feng, Jingwen Guo   

  1. Institute of Ecology and Geobotany, Yunnan University, Kunming 650091
  • Received:2012-10-31 Accepted:2013-03-21 Online:2013-05-20 Published:2013-06-05
  • Contact: Ou Xiaokun


Because of limited resources, it is very important for biodiversity conservation to make accurate assessments of biodiversity prior to setting out measures for protecting regions and communities. To more effectively manage and protect forest resources in Northwest Yunnan, we evaluated the priority plant community types for conservation by mainly considering the function of plant communities in maintaining habitat and biodiversity. Recognizing the principles of good science, hierarchy and practicability, we established an evaluation indicator system consisting of six indicators: species diversity, number of rare and endangered plant species, protection level of plant species, number of endemic plant species, and rarity and endemism of community type. We selected 61 formations belonging to 13 vegetation subtypes in Northwest Yunnan for analysis. Assessment criteria followed a general ranking assignment methodology, and weights assigned to individual indicators were determined using an Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) and expert consultation. GIS technology was used as an aid to integrate evaluation. The results yielded conservation values of communities as follows: (1) at the association level: 4 associations were at first category, 31 second category, 23 third category, and three general category; (2) at the vegetation subtype level: one was at first category, six second category, six third category. The distribution of priority vegetation subtypes for conservation were: (1) first category: a small area distributed in Gaoligong Mountains; (2) second category: mainly distributed in high altitude mountains in the northwest, and also in some alpine areas in the southeast of the study area; (3) third category: distributed at low altitude in the southeast of the study area and in valleys of the Dulong River, Nu River, Lancang River and Jinsha River.

Key words: priority plant community for conservation, biodiversity conservation, evaluation indicator system, assessment criteria, Northwest Yunnan