Biodiv Sci ›› 2011, Vol. 19 ›› Issue (1): 41-47.  DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2011.07109

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The ecological response of fern diversity to different slopes in Gudoushan Nature Reserve, Guangdong

Yuehong Yan1, Zuxia He1, Hu Yuan3, Fuwu Xing2,*()   

  1. 1 School of Life Sciences, Hunan University of Science and Technology, Xiangtan, Hunan 411201
    2 South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510650
    3 Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093
  • Received:2010-04-30 Accepted:2011-01-09 Online:2011-01-20 Published:2011-04-01
  • Contact: Fuwu Xing


In order to examine the effect of slope differences on fern diversity, we chose 10 plots (5×5 m2 for each plot) on east-, west-, south-, and north-facing slopes, with altitudes ranging from 20 to 986 m in Gudoushan Nature Reserve, Xinhui, Guangdong, China. We obtained the following results: (1) Species abundance on the east- and north-facing slopes were high, while that on the west- and south-facing slopes were low. (2) Similarity indices of ferns in different slope orientations were low (<0.5), which suggested that orientation significantly influenced fern diversity. The difference between the south- and north-facing slopes (similarity index, 0.2895) and the similarity between west- and south-facing slopes (similarity indices, up to 0.4643) were the most obvious. (3) Tropical ferns were dominant in sunny slopes, while non-tropical ferns were dominant in shady slopes. The percentage of tropical ferns on the south-, west-, east-, and north-facing slopes decreased, while that of non-tropical ferns increased. (4) Shade ferns were dominant in shady slopes, while sunny ferns were dominant in sunny slopes; the number of shade ferns regularly increased on the south-, west-, east-, and north-facing slopes. These results clearly indicated how light and heat on different slopes affected fern diversity and suggested that fern diversity could be a good indicator of environmental and climatic changes.

Key words: pteridophytes, slope, biodiversity, ecological adaptation, indication