Biodiv Sci ›› 2017, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (5): 498-503.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2017004

• Special Feature: Shennongjia World Natural Heritage Site • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Diversity and representativeness of deciduous woody plants in Shennongjia World Natural Heritage Site, China

Dayong Fan, Xianming Gao, Yanjun Du, Guozhen Shen, Wenting Xu, Gaoming Xiong, Changming Zhao, Youbing Zhou, Zongqiang Xie*()   

  1. State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environment Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093
  • Received:2017-01-03 Accepted:2017-05-25 Online:2017-05-20 Published:2017-06-06
  • Contact: Xie Zongqiang


Shennongjia World Natural Heritage Site (Shennongjia) is of global significance in biodiversity and its habitat, as well as the biological and ecological processes, and its flora is extremely rich in deciduous woody plants. In this study, the genus and species richness of deciduous woody plants in Shennongjia was analyzed, aiming to identify the outstanding universal value of Shennongjia, as well as providing a theoretical basis for its scientific management. The northern temperate deciduous forest has the most abundant species of deciduous woody plants in the world. We selected 82 representative genera widely distributed in the northern temperate deciduous forest, and a comparative analysis of their distribution (including the number of species within a genus) in the world, China, Europe, North America, Shennongjia, Great Smoky Mountains, and Japan Ogawa Forest Reserve, was carried out. It was found that Shennongjia had 62 genera, accounting for 86% of that in China, and 76% of that in the world. Shennongjia had 225 species in the 62 genera, accounting for 21% of that in China, and 7% of that in the world. In terms of deciduous species diversity, Great Smoky Mountains and Japan Ogawa Forest Reserve are also representative of the northern temperate deciduous forest. However, the two areas had significantly fewer deciduous genera and species than Shennongjia. The evidence shows that the Shennongjia is one of the most concentrated distribution areas of deciduous woody plants in the world, which is an important embodiment of its outstanding universal value. The warm and humid climate due to the uplift of the Tibetan Plateau, the complex topography, and the close connection to subtropical and tropical flora in terms of deciduous components, contribute to the exceptional richness of deciduous woody plants in Shennongjia.

Key words: northern temperate deciduous forest, Great Smoky Mountain, Japan Ogawa Forest Reserve, deciduous woody plants