Biodiv Sci ›› 2018, Vol. 26 ›› Issue (12): 1268-1276.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2018019

• Original Papers: Plant Diversity • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Spatial distribution and environmental interpretation of wild Sinojackia xylocarpa communities based on self-organizing map (SOM)

Guodong Yang1,2, Xinyue Ji1,2, Lin Chen1,2, Yuqian Zhong3, Feifei Zhai3, Xiangui Yi1,2,*(), Xianrong Wang1,2   

  1. 1 Co-Innovation Center for the Sustainable Forestry in Southern China, Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing 210037
    2 College of Biology and the Environmentand the Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing 210037
    3 Protection Station of Wild Animals and Plants in Jiangsu Province, Nanjing 210036
  • Received:2018-01-19 Accepted:2018-09-12 Online:2018-12-20 Published:2019-02-11
  • Contact: Yi Xiangui
  • About author:# Co-first authors


A self-organizing map (SOM) based on field investigations was adopted to analyze the numerical classification and ordination of wild Sinojackia xylocarpa communities in the Nanjing Laoshan Forest Park in hopes of illuminating the relationship between the wild communities and environmental conditions. The results show that the 100 quadrats were divided into five associations, spatially reflecting the successional trend of wild S. xylocarpa communities. The association boundary, community structure and species composition differed significantly among communities. Through visualizing environmental gradients, the altitude, slope position and soil thickness were found to be the main factors affecting the growth and distribution of S. xylocarpa in this area, though the relationships differed among dominant species. The SOM removes the restrictive assumptions of many quantitative techniques so that the neural network is attractive to the community ecological characteristics and the interrelationship between community and environment can be explored. Based on the potential of SOM for vegetation data classification and, to a lesser extent, ordination, the SOM can aid in the conservation of endangered plants across different community types.

Key words: Sinojackia xylocarpa, environmental factor, self-organizing map, wild community, gradient analysis