Biodiv Sci ›› 2022, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (4): 21377.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2021377

• Original Papers: Plant Diversity • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Driving factors of spatial turnover of plant species in Shennongjia

Yanhui Li1,2, Tianyuan Lan1,2, Yue Wang1,2, Yang Yu4, Changming Zhao1, Lihua Li3, Wenting Xu1, Guozhen Shen1,2,*()   

  1. 1 State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093
    2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
    3 Baotou Rural Pastoral Area Management and Information Service Center, Baotou, Inner Mongolia 014030
    4 China National Environmental Monitoring Centre, Beijing 100012
  • Received:2021-09-16 Accepted:2022-02-28 Online:2022-04-20 Published:2022-04-20
  • Contact: Guozhen Shen


Aims: Shennongjia is one of the key habitats for numerous relic, rare, endemic, and type species, as well as many of the world’s deciduous woody species in the Northern Hemisphere. Understanding plant compositional differences (beta-diversity) between local species assemblages is central in understanding the processes that maintain Shennongjia’s species diversity. Yet, little is known about which factors driving the changes in Shennongjia’s plant composition. Here, we aim to investigate that how the taxonomic composition of plant species shifts with environmental gradients, and to determine the key factors affecting on the current distribution of species by considering the factors of environment and human disturbance.

Methods: In this paper, based on generalized dissimilarity modelling (GDM) and partial regression analysis, we explored the driving effects of geographical distance, climatic factors, and human disturbance (measured as distance to road and fragmentation) on plant beta-diversity in Shennongjia.

Results: The results showed that the geographical distance, mean annual temperature (MAT), accumulated temperature ≥ 0℃ and accumulated temperature ≥ 10℃ are the main factors contributing to plant species turnover in Shennongjia. Geographical distance, climatic difference, and human disturbance explained 28.75%, 34.56% and 12.55% of the variation in plant species dissimilarities, respectively, and their interactions explained 8.52% of the variation. Geographical distance, climatic difference, and human disturbance together explained 43.47% of the variation.

Conclusion: The results indicated that geographical distance and temperature differentiations were the key factors driving plant compositional changes between local species assemblages in Shennongjia. Protecting vegetation vertical band spectrum and diverse geomorphologic heterogeneities are the key to maintain the ecological process of species turnover in Shennongjia, and are also the primary focus of the construction of Shennongjia National Park and the protection area network in the northwest region of the Hubei Province should be concerned.

Key words: environmental heterogeneity, beta diversity, species turnover, fragmentation, Shennongjia