Biodiv Sci ›› 2015, Vol. 23 ›› Issue (2): 149-156.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2014137

• Original Papers: Community Structure and Patterns of Tropical and Subtropical Forest in China • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Influences on gap species richness in a subtropical evergreen broad- leaved forest

Heming Liu1,2, Qingsong Yang1,2, Xiaofeng Fang1,2, Zunping Ma1,2, Guochun Shen1,2, Zhiguo Zhang1,2, Zhanghua Wang3, Xihua Wang1,2,*()   

  1. 1 Tiantong National Forest Ecosystem Observation and Research Station, Ningbo, Zhejiang 315114
    2 School of Ecological and Environmental Sciences, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241
    3 Shanghai Chenshan Plant Science Research Center, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 201602
  • Received:2014-06-30 Accepted:2014-09-28 Online:2015-03-20 Published:2015-04-09
  • Contact: Wang Xihua


Canopy gaps, created by the death or disturbance of a mature tree, influence forest community structure. The opening of the canopy creates opportunity for species recruitment influencing species diversity in forest communities. However, the mechanisms that lead to species recruitment and the resulting diversity are still unclear. Factors that may affect species richness of canopy gaps include the gap area, species richness of adjacent areas (SSAA and SCAA represent the adjacent area where is the seed source of canopy gap and the adjacent area where species composition is spatially correlated with survivors in the canopy gap, respectively), topography, and soil nutrients. To test which factors significantly affect species richness, 11 parameters (canopy gap area, species richness of mature individuals in SSAA, species richness of all individuals in SCAA, slope, aspect, convexity, mean elevation, pH value, total nitrogen, total carbon, total phosphorus of each gap) were calculated for 84 canopy gaps in 20 ha Tiantong Dynamics Plot. The effect of SSAA and SCAA were quantified by species richness of mature individuals and richness of all free standing trees (DBH ≥ 1 cm) within 5 m and 4 m away from the edge of the gap, respectively. The size of adjacent area was defined as the area containing most of species present in the gap (≥75%) and having most significant effect on gap species richness. A generalized linear regression model was constructed for each random combinations of any subsets of 11 gap parameters. Our best model with lowest AICc showed that: only species richness of mature individuals in SSAA and the canopy gap area had a significant effect on the gap species richness. This result suggests that gap size and species richness of the seed source can directly influence species richness of canopy gaps. Additional factors may have an indirect influence and should be explored further.

Key words: gap size, species diversity, seed source, canopy gap area, Tiantong, forest community, dynamics plot