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Table of Content
    Volume 30 Issue 2
    20 February 2022
    Arid inland river basin in Northwest China is one of the important natural geographical units. Dual impacts from extreme arid climate and river hydrological process have formed a unique vegetation landscape. In this issue, Wang et al (21419) elucidated the underlying mechanisms of plant community assembly processes and key drivers in arid inland river basin based on the plant functional traits and environmental factors. The picture presents the landscape of Heihe River Basin. (Photographed by Yin Wang)

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    Original Papers: Plant Diversity
    Plant community assembly processes and key drivers in an arid inland river basin
    Yin Wang, Jianming Wang, Mengjun Qu, Jingwen Li
    Biodiv Sci. 2022, 30 (2):  21419.  doi:10.17520/biods.2021419
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    Aims One of the determinants of water availability in drylands, groundwater plays a fundamental role in regulating plant traits, phylogeny, and community assemblage. However, considerable uncertainties exist regarding how groundwater depth influences the relative importance of community assembly process in plant communities, as well as how the influence differs among the above- and belowground components.

    Methods By using the leaf and root functional traits, in addition to associated environmental factors in 230 plant communities in the lower reaches of an arid inland river basin, we attempted to uncover how the pattern of the community assembly process varied along a depth gradient of groundwater and the key drivers of this variation.

    Results (1) Across all study sites, we found that the standard effect size of Rao’s quadratic entropy (SES.RaoQ) of leaf and root functional diversity determined using the plant individual species, mean functional traits and phylogenetic information was significantly less than zero. Functional clustering was pervasive among plant communities (90% of the traits). (2) Groundwater depth and soil variables together explained 13%-39% and 14%-48% of the variation in SES.RaoQ determined using leaf and root traits, respectively, and groundwater depth individually explained 13%-22% and 14%-36% of the variation. (3) The SES.RaoQ determined using leaf and root traits decreased as mean groundwater depth decreased, but it increased with increased groundwater depth seasonality. Root traits showed a faster shift in SES.RaoQ along groundwater depth gradients than leaf traits.

    Conclusion Plant communities in an arid inland river basin are primarily affected by deterministic processes, which supports the niche theory. Most plant communities exhibited functional clustering. Groundwater depth is the key factor determining the relative importance of the community assembly process of plant communities. With the decrease of groundwater depths, the functional structure changes from a pattern of mostly overdispersion to a pattern of clustering. The variation in aboveground functional structure along groundwater gradients is highly consistent with that of the belowground functional structure, but the belowground component of plant communities may be more sensitive to changes in groundwater depth.

    Spatial distribution pattern and protection strategy for orchids in landslide mass of the Wanglang National Nature Reserve
    Chongyang Wang, Lianjun Zhao, Shiyong Meng
    Biodiv Sci. 2022, 30 (2):  21313.  doi:10.17520/biods.2021313
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    Aims Landslide mass is a widely existing habitat type in the Minshan Mountains, but insufficient attention has been drawn to its importance in biodiversity research and protection. Orchid species are abundant in the landslide masses of the Wanglang National Nature Reserve, especially in the Baishagou landslide mass. By studying the spatial distribution pattern of orchids in the Baishagou landslide mass, we aimed to infer the approximate distribution pattern of orchids in the landslide mass of the Minshan Mountains and provide guidance for the protection of orchids in this area.

    Methods We collected data from 186 quadrats belonging to 4 transects in the Baishagou landslide mass, and conducted interspecific association, correlation analysis, detrended correspondence analysis (DCA), and two-way indicator species analysis (TWINSPAN).

    Results The results indicated that the herb community of the Baishagou landslide mass is primarily affected by environmental factors, and the competition among species is relatively weak. Canopy closure and water erosion both play important roles on the distribution of orchids in landslide masses. Landslide masses can be divided into three types: landslide-forest edge habitat (Type 1), landslide habitat (Type 2) and high canopy closure landslide habitat (Type 3). Adaptive differentiation has occurred between orchid species from Type 1 and Type 3.

    Conclusion We suggest implementing protection points to monitor the richness of orchid distribution. In addition, detailed investigations should be carried out on other landslide masses which formed at different points in time and with different soil substrates to find out the distribution pattern of orchid species in the Wanglang National Nature Reserve, or even the entire Minshan area.

    Diversity, distribution, and conservation of rare and endangered plant species in Jiangsu Province
    Guangfu Zhang, Tianshi Xiong, Ting Sun, Kaidi Li, Liyuan Shao
    Biodiv Sci. 2022, 30 (2):  21335.  doi:10.17520/biods.2021335
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    Aims: It is crucial to assess the endangered category for national key protected and endangered wild plants when making scientific protection strategies. The purpose of this study is to identify the diversity, species distribution, and threatened degree of rare and endangered plants in Jiangsu Province, China.

    Methods: Based on the data from the second survey of protected wild plant resources in Jiangsu Province (2012-2018) and related investigations in recent years, we examined species diversity and evaluated the threatened status of these endangered species in light of the IUCN Red List Category and Criteria (2012).

    Results: The results showed that: (1) 41 endangered species belonged to national key protected and endangered wild plants in Jiangsu, and they could be divided into 7 categories. There were 2 species of Regional Extinction (RE), accounting for 4.88% of the total species. There were 10 Critically Endangered (CR) species, 6 Endangered (EN), 13 Vulnerable (VU), 2 Near Threatened (NT), 2 Least Concern (LC), and 6 Data Deficiency (DD), accounting for 24.39%, 14.63%, 31.71%, 4.88%, 4.88%, and 14.63% of the total species, respectively. The majority of them fell into threatened species, including CR, EN, and VU, accounting for 70.73% of the total species. (2) It was suggested that 74 species of wild plants belonging to 62 genera and 40 families should be protected in Jiangsu Province. The majority of them were endangered species, up to 74.32%. The high number of endangered species may be primarily ascribed to tremendous environmental pressure resulting from high human populations in Jiangsu, changes in production practices and land use patterns in the past decades, and low awareness of environmental publicity and education.

    Conclusion: We propose: (1) to formulate the list of provincial key protected wild plants in Jiangsu Province as soon as possible; (2) to strengthen scientific research, by combing in situ and ex situ conservation for some critically endangered species, by carrying out reintroduction, near situ conservation and dynamic monitoring; (3) to enhance public awareness of biodiversity, protection, and management.

    Original Papers: Animal Diversity
    Conservation gap analysis of key protected and rare animals in Da Hinggan Range Region, China
    Haiping Li, Zhuqing Xu, Zhihang Long
    Biodiv Sci. 2022, 30 (2):  21294.  doi:10.17520/biods.2021294
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    Aims The Da Hinggan Range Region is the only cold-temperate coniferous forest ecological zone in China, which has global importance and special nature conservation value. Based on the establishment of species information database, this study analyzed the spatial distribution of key protected and rare animals in the area so as to promote the conservation of biodiversity in Da Hinggan Range Region.

    Methods The 10 km × 10 km grid spatial distribution data of key protected and rare animals in the area was established, and the habitat-related auxiliary data such as land use, vegetation cover, elevation and slope were also analyzed. The Shannon-Wiener diversity index was used as the degree of richness of key protected and rare animals. In order to obtain the conservation gaps in Da Hinggan Range Region, the existing spatial distribution of key protected and rare animals was overlaid on the existing protected areas.

    Results (1) The existing conservation gaps mainly include endangered, vulnerable and near-threatened species. The animals under threaten include Tetrao parvirostris, Martes zibellina and Cygnus columbianus, etc. (2) The areas with higher conservation degree are mainly located in the north of Erguna City and the western part of Huma County. Although the spatial distribution of key protected and rare animals basically matches the scope of existing protected areas, there are still conservation gaps of different degrees in different geographic areas. (3) There are mainly two types of conservation gaps: conservation gaps that have not been protected and gaps that have not been fully incorporated into existing protected areas.

    Conclusion & suggestions Different conservation measures should be taken for the two different types of conservation gaps. For the unprotected areas at the intersection of Genhe City and Yakeshi City, it is suggested that a new nature reserve or a protected area be built. For the protected area that key protected and rare animals that are not fully integrated into, such as the gap area in the northern extension of Aershan Nature Reserve in Inner Mongolia, it is suggested that improve the existing protected area system by expanding the existing nature reserve accordingly.

    Original Papers: Microbial Diversity
    Effects of plant species diversity, dominant species importance, and soil properties on glomalin-related soil protein
    Shengxian Chen, Xiting Zhang, Danqi She, Zhonghua Zhang, Zhiqiang Zhou, Huimei Wang, Wenjie Wang
    Biodiv Sci. 2022, 30 (2):  21115.  doi:10.17520/biods.2021115
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    Aims Glomalin related soil protein (GRSP) is a type of glycoprotein produced by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, playing a vital role in the regulation of soil physical structure and soil carbon stability. Previous studies have demonstrated the effects of soil physico-chemical properties on GRSP accumulation. To date, there is a lack of systematic research on how plant species composition of diversity and dominance affecting GRSP accumulation.

    Methods A total of 72 plots in Harbin Experimental Forest Farm of Northeast Forestry University were surveyed in this study. The soil profile at 1 m depth was divided into five layers for soil sampling. Tree species diversity indices (Richness, Shannon-Wiener index, Simpson index, and evenness index) were calculated. The importance values (IVs) were calculated for dominant tree species according to the relative abundance, species frequency, and cross-area ratio to total stem cross-area. Soil physico-chemical properties were measured, including soil organic carbon (SOC), total nitrogen (TN), soil moisture content (MC), electrical conductivity (EC), and pH. All soil samples were assayed for easily extractable GRSP (EEG), total GRSP (TG), EEG/TG, EEG-C/SOC, and TG-C/SOC. The association between GRSP traits and soil physicochemical properties, IVs of dominant trees, and tree species diversity were ordinated using redundancy ordination (RDA) and variation partitioning analysis.

    Results (1) TG and EEG correlated positively with SOC throughout the entire soil profile. The same was true with TN and MC at some soil depths, but the correlation was negative with EC and pH values. (2) In most soil layers, the greater EEG accumulation with higher EEG-C/SOC (proportion of C in EEG to SOC) and EEG/TG accompanied with the higher IV for Pinus tabulaeformisvar. mukdensis, but smaller IVs for Phellodendron amurense and Ulmus pumila. In contrast, the greater TG accumulation aligned with the higher IVs in Juglans mandshurica, P. amurense, and U. pumila but lower IVs in P. tabulaeformis var. mukdensis, Larix gmelinii and Pinus sylvestris var. mongolica. (3) The plant Simpson index, Shannon-Wiener index, and species richness correlated negatively (P < 0.05) with EEG-C/SOC, EEG-N/TN (proportion of N in EEG to TN), TG-C/SOC (proportion of C in TG to SOC), and TG-N/TN (proportion of N in TG to TN), and these indices had no relationship with EEG, TG, and EEG/TG. In addition, EEG/TG and EEG-N/TN correlated positively (P < 0.05) with plant evenness. These trends were similar across different soil layers in the 1 m profile. (4) RDA ordination and variation partitioning showed that biotic factors (plant diversity, IV of dominant species) explained 20.2% of GRSP variation, and soil factors explained 7.8%. Of the biotic factors, the IVs of the dominant plant species accounted for 16.4%, while species diversity only explained 0.4%. The evergreen coniferous species (eg, P. tabulaeformis var. mukdensisand P. sylvestris var. mongolica), rather than the broad-leaved species, usually accompanied the higher GRSP accumulation and contribution to SOC and TN (P < 0.01). The underlying mechanism contributing this difference possibly related to mycorrhizal symbiosis of trees, i.e., TG related negatively to ectomycorrhizal tree IVs, but related positively to arbuscular mycorrhizal tree IVs.

    Conclusion Our findings highlighted that GRSP amounts and its contribution to soil carbon and nitrogen are mainly regulated by tree dominance rather than their diversity traits. This data underscored that GRSP-oriented soil management and evaluation can be promoted by adjusting the dominant species, a much simple indicator than species diversity indices.

    Original Papers: Genetic Diversity
    Nucleotide diversity and adaptation of CTB4a gene related to cold tolerance in rice
    Jia Song, Mingyang Zhi, Qiang Chen, Yueying Li, Longkun Wu, Baoxuan Nong, Danting Li, Hongbo Pang, Xiaoming Zheng
    Biodiv Sci. 2022, 30 (2):  21258.  doi:10.17520/biods.2021258
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    Aims: To explore whether the natural variation of CTB4a gene is related to low-temperature tolerance in cultivated rice seedlings.

    Methods: A total of 133 representative samples of cultivated rice (Oryza sativa L.) and 35 samples of wild rice (O. rufipogon Griff.) from all over the world were used as experimental materials to analyze the nucleotide diversity, the relationship between haplotypes and geographical distribution in gene coding region of CTB4a gene.

    Results: There were 14 nucleotide variations and 33 haplotypes in the coding region of CTB4a gene. According to single nucleotide polymorphism variation, the network of these haplotypes was divided into two groups (A and B) in variation at 286 bp (+2,035,097 bp, G > C; +96 aa, Ala→Pro). There were 56 samples in Group A, 43 samples (76.79%) were japonica rice mainly distributed in middle and high latitudes, while Group B contains 77 samples, and 63 indica rice (83.12%) mainly distributed in tropical or subtropical countries. The low-temperature tolerance of Group A is significantly lower than that of Group B by 30% at the seedling stage on average. The variation at 286 bp only exists in Group A, but not in Group B.

    Conclusion: As the rice planting area moved northward, CTB4ajap appeared and was fixed during the breeding process. This research provides a theoretical basis for understanding the molecular genetic mechanism of rice adapting to low temperature and breeding cold-tolerant rice varieties.

    Original Papers: Biosecurity and Nature Conservation
    Environmental interpretation resources for protected areas: Using the Reed Lake interpretation trail in the Jiuzhaigou as a case study
    Yuke Zhang, Qiongyue Zhang, Yue Zhang, Weiyang Xiao, Jie Du, Chao Xie, Shangjuan Zhao, Shuiying Yu, Zongyu Zhai, Yi Guo, Weiya Yang, Dingyao Wang, Jinxiu Yang, Ying Li, Yan Wang, Hongou Sun, Xinan Guo, Liang Zhou
    Biodiv Sci. 2022, 30 (2):  21235.  doi:10.17520/biods.2021235
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    Aims: Environmental interpretation is an important method for achieving the goal of nature conservation and environmental education in protected areas. Presently, the development of interpretation systems is limited due to a lack of research of the spatiotemporal patterns of interpretation resources in China’s protected areas, and the lack of corresponding field investigation methods. As a result, the interpretation system does not meet the needs of the public’s understanding of nature and fails in fulfilling environmental education objectives. Therefore, we aimed to study the spatiotemporal patterns of interpretation resources of Reed Lake in the Jiuzhaigou National Nature Reserve.

    Methods: We summarized six selection criteria of interpretation resources, as well as investigated and monitored the regional interpretation resources in the Reed Lake interpretation trail in Jiuzhaigou. Based on the attributes, meanings, and distribution characteristics of interpretation resources, interpretation themes were designed using the thematic interpretation method.

    Results: We found 195 interpretation resource types, including: 100 types of plants and fungi, 62 types of animals, 5 ecosystem types, 7 types of geology and hydrology, 2 types of astronomical phenomena and climate, and 19 types of cultural resources. Spatially, plant, fungus, animal, and ecosystem resources were mainly distributed in the inner part of the trail. The cultural interpretation resources were more distributed in the outer part of the trail. In time, the number of interpretation resources was highest in summer and autumn, and less in winter and spring. Furthermore, the number of animal, plant, and fungus interpretation resources had obvious seasonality. Eight interpretation themes were designed to provide references of interpretation content for the organization.

    Conclusion: Exploring meanings inherent in interpretation resources and understanding their distributions are critical for delivering the uniqueness and importance of the resources to the public, and thus should be incorporated into the planning of interpretation systems. This study provides a methodological reference for the investigation of interpretation resources and system construction of environmental interpretation in China’s nature reserve system.

    Data Paper
    A dataset on the morphological, life-history and ecological traits of the mammals in China
    Chenchen Ding, Dongni Liang, Wenpei Xin, Chunwang Li, Eric I. Ameca, Zhigang Jiang
    Biodiv Sci. 2022, 30 (2):  21520.  doi:10.17520/biods.2021520
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    Species traits reflect the species’ ecological function and fitness. The trait data play a vital role in studying biodiversity maintenance and loss, species evolution and adaptation, ecological interactions and processes, ecosystem functions, and species responses to both climate change and human pressures. China is one of the countries with the richest mammal diversity in the world, so far, there is no comprehensive resource of morphological, life history, ecological and geographical distribution data of the mammals in China. We compiled 24 traits data of 754 Chinese mammals (including recently regional extinct species and those species with disputed taxonomy and distribution) between 2008 and 2021 through systematic literature review and dataset integration, referred to mammalian monographs and field guides. The main sources used in completing the dataset were: the life history traits were retrieved from A Field Guide to the Mammals of China (Pan et al, 2007), A Guide to the Mammals of China (Smith & Xie, 2009), and trait database (COMBINE: COalesced Mammal dataBase of INtrinsic and Extrinsic traits, Soria et al, 2021), and the zoogeographical regionalization and distribution type were searched in China Animal Geography (Zhang, 2011), and species distribution in provinces and threatened category were cited from China’s Red List of Biodiversity: Vertebrates, Volume I, Mammals (Jiang et al, 2021) and Handbook of Mammals of China (Liu et al, 2019, 2020). In addition, Handbook of the Mammals of the World (Wilson & Mittermeier, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2018, 2019; Wilson et al, 2016, 2017), Mammal Diversity Database (American Society of Mammalogists, ASM, 2021) and COMBINE database (Soria et al, 2021) were taken as supplementary data source. Further, peer-reviewed scientific publications from 1990 to 2021 were searched in CNKI, Google Scholar to supplementary traits data. Our dataset included body weight, brain size, head body length, tail length, forearm length (Chiroptera), hind foot length, ear length, sexual maturity time, gestation length, litter size, litters per year, generation length, diet, activity pattern, habitat type, habitat breadth, realm, biome, endemic species, elevational range, distribution type, zoogeographical regionalization, geographical distribution. Among these twenty-four traits, the data integrity ranged from 30% to 100%. The traits data were incomplete to some extent due to lack of research while the information about endemic species, geographical distribution in province of China’s mammals are completed. The dataset is the latest and most complete database on the traits of China’s mammals, which lays the foundation for future researches in mammalogy and biodiversity study and promote information sharing and in-depth mining of mammal diversity in China.

    Bioinventories
    Species diversity and distribution of amphibians and reptiles in Hunan Province, China
    Zhiwei Gao, Tianyu Qian, Jianping Jiang, Dejia Hou, Xuejian Deng, Daode Yang
    Biodiv Sci. 2022, 30 (2):  21290.  doi:10.17520/biods.2021290
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    Aims: Species diversity and geographical distribution are important bases for the formulation of wildlife protection strategies. Amphibians and reptiles occupy an important position in the history of biological evolution and are taxa whose phylogenetic classifications have changed greatly. The purpose of this paper is to understand the status of amphibian and reptile species diversity in Hunan Province, and to promote the conservation of biodiversity and wildlife management in Hunan Province.

    Methods: We have systematically collected literature on the classification of amphibians and reptiles in Hunan Province for more than 10 years. With reference to the latest research results of taxonomy and molecular biosystems, combined with the team’s long-term field survey data, we organized and updated the list of amphibians and reptiles in Hunan Province (as of October 31, 2021).

    Results: The results indicated that: 86 species (including subspecies) of 30 genera, 10 families, 2 orders of amphibians and 105 species (including subspecies) of 55 genera, 22 families, 2 orders of reptiles have been recorded in Hunan Province. Among them, 62 species of amphibians and 30 species of reptiles are endemic to China, and 10 species of amphibians and 4 species of reptiles are endemic to Hunan Province. 11 species of amphibians and 10 species of reptiles have been listed in List of National Key Protected Wild Animals (2021), and 20 species of amphibians and 30 species of reptiles are listed as threatened in the China’s Red List of Biodiversity (2021). Additionally, according to the animal geographical regions of China, 155 species are Oriental, while 36 species are considered widely distributed, and there are no Palaearctic species.

    Conclusion: Based on the above results, the amphibians and reptiles of Hunan Province have obvious characteristics, with the Oriental species dominating (81.2%), less widespread species (18.8%), and no Palaearctic species. In terms of geographical distribution, the abundance of amphibian and reptile species is high in the mountainous and hilly areas in southern Hunan Province and the mountain area in northwestern Hunan Province.

    Mammal and bird diversity recorded with camera traps in Gongga Mountain National Nature Reserve, Sichuan, China
    Jiang Qiao, Guoqing Jia, Huaming Zhou, Lin Gong, Yong Jiang, Nengwen Xiao, Xiaoqi Gao, Anxiang Wen, Jie Wang
    Biodiv Sci. 2022, 30 (2):  20395.  doi:10.17520/biods.2020395
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    Aims The Gongga Mountain National Nature Reserve lies in the global biodiversity hotspot—the Hengduan Mountains and is a priority area of biodiversity conservation in China. However, surveys of large to medium-sized mammals are insufficient in the reserve. For this reason, we conducted a camera trap survey during 2011-2018.

    Methods Camera traps were placed in 97 grid cells (1 km × 1 km per cell) with a minimum distance of over 500 m and at the altitudes of 2,672-4,764 m. Only one camera was placed in a cell during the same period. Seventy grid cells located continuously along the western slope of Mt. Gongga.

    Results A total of 20,932 independent photographs were taken over 39,881 camera-days. Thirty wild mammal species and 78 bird species were captured by camera traps. Seven other mammal species were reported by literature or occasional observation. Among them, 12 species are class I, and 28 are class II national protected animals. 11 and 12 species are listed in the CITES Appendix I and II, respectively. According to the IUCN Red List, 3 and 8 species are listed as endangered (EN) and vulnerable (VU) species, respectively. According to Red List of China’s Vertebrates, 5 species are listed as Critically Endangered (CR), 5 are listed as endangered, and 11 are listed as vulnerable. Using a relative abundance index, the three most detected mammal species were the tufted deer (Elaphodus cephalophus, 147.39), sambar deer (Rusa unicolor, 66.10), and wild boar (Sus scrofa, 36.03); the three most detected avian species were the blood pheasant (Ithaginis cruentus, 14.64), white eared pheasant (Crossoptilon crossoptilon, 10.43), and giant laughingthrush (Garrulax maximus, 8.05).

    Conclusion We provided an inventory of large to medium-sized mammals in the reserve. More in-depth investigations should be conducted in broad-leaved forest, coniferous and broad-leaved mixed forest, alpine shrub meadow, and alpine scree to survey other undetected mammals.

    Reviews
    Advances in intransitive competition between organisms
    Zhengliang Huang, Hanlun Liu, Chengjin Chu, Yuanzhi Li
    Biodiv Sci. 2022, 30 (2):  21282.  doi:10.17520/biods.2021282
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    Background & Aims Interactions between organisms, especially competitive interactions, are of central importance to species coexistence and biodiversity maintenance. Previous studies focused primarily on pairwise competition amongst species, which often failed to explain the maintenance of biodiversity in communities. Intransitive competition, similar to the ‘rock-paper-scissors’ game, is acknowledged as an important alternative mechanism of species coexistence and biodiversity and has recently garnered the attention of researchers.

    Progress First, we reviewed the development of defining intransitive competition from traditional interspecific intransitive triplets to weak, pairwise, and intraspecific intransitive competition. We introduced different forms of intransitive competition networks including simple intransitive triplets and nested competitive networks. Second, we introduced the measurements of intransitivity based on a competitive outcomes matrix and invasive population growth rate and compared their performances. Third, we demonstrated the prevalence of intransitive competition in natural communities of different taxonomic groups (such as plants, animals, and microorganisms) and its underlying mechanisms such as resource access, life stage cycle, behavioral tradeoffs, tradeoffs between resource consumption and growth rate, and allelopathy. Finally, we discussed recent research that explores the effects of intransitive competition on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.

    Prospect Intransitive competition is essentially combinations of pairwise interactions of a single interaction type. Future research should focus its effects on the relationship between biodiversity, ecosystem functioning, and community stability, the effects of environments and higher-order interactions on intransitive competition, and move away from competitive networks to ecological networks consisting of multiple types of interactions. Advances in research on intransitive competition will improve our understanding of species coexistence and biodiversity maintenance, as well as provide guidance in biodiversity conservation and restoration.

    Current status of taxonomy, systematics and conservation of the white pines in China and adjacent regions
    Yanyan Liu, Chang Liu, Xiaoxin Wei
    Biodiv Sci. 2022, 30 (2):  21344.  doi:10.17520/biods.2021344
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    Background & Aims Species delimitation and systematic analysis are essential for species catalogue and biodiversity conservation. Pinus, the largest genus of conifers and arguably, is the most important genus of trees in the northern Hemisphere. In this genus, subsect. Strobus is one of the most species-rich and taxonomically problematic lineages. East Asia (mainly China and adjacent regions) harbors more than half of the subsect. Strobus species (or five-needle pines), and most of them have narrow or very patchy distribution. Of them, a number of species are included in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Recently, Pinus dabeshanensis and P. wangii were upgraded from second-level protection to top-level protection on the newly released China’s List of Wild Plants under State Priority Conservation. This paper summarizes the progresses and problems in taxonomy, population genetics and conservation of the white pines distributed in China and adjacent areas, which would be helpful for accurate species conservation.

    Review Results In recent years, with the successful application of phylotranscriptomics in gymnosperms, the phylogenetic relationships and evolutionary history of the white pines distributed in China and adjacent regions were mostly resolved. Both in-situ and ex-situ conservation strategies have been taken for protecting the threatened white pines. Nevertheless, we still need a better of knowledge to understand the endangered mechanism and the evolutionary potential of these pines to respond to environmental change.

    Perspectives Extra effort should be put on basic research and field investigation. We propose to integrate multiple disciplines and strengthen the application of new technologies and approaches in the research to promote accurate species conservation.

    Research progress on biodiversity offsetting
    Yuanyang Hu
    Biodiv Sci. 2022, 30 (2):  21266.  doi:10.17520/biods.2021266
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    Aims Biodiversity offsetting (BO) is a compensation action and has been implemented widely, including in North America and Europe, but not in China currently. This paper tries to provide an overview of the advantages and problems of biodiversity offsetting, specifically examining the situations in the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK), and providing an outlook on the future of biodiversity offsetting programs in China.

    Progresses According to the available research, the main advantages of biodiversity offsetting are: (1) the outcomes are theoretically transparent and reliable; (2) the results are always positive in theory; (3) it brings a proactive approach to biodiversity conservation, mitigation banking. The main problems are: (1) the difficulty of achieving “quantifiable conservation outcomes”; (2) the difficulty of equating biodiversity gains with losses; (3) the problems of regulation in practice; (4) the lag between implementation and results. Additionally, more specific issues such as vague and outdated laws and policies, and inappropriate mitigation ratios have been discussed from the US and UK cases.

    Conclusions & Suggestions Overall, the main problems of biodiversity offsetting are that the existing research cannot underpin its idealized implementation, and all kinds of subjective issues in its practice. Based on the current empirical evidence, biodiversity offsetting may contribute to the environmental protection and sustainable development in China. This paper suggests strengthening research on the feasibility of biodiversity offsetting in China, including introducing mitigation hierarchy, refining quantitative biodiversity indicators, pilot projects, and mitigation banking. That will deepen the understanding of biodiversity and provide a more theoretical basis for formulating biodiversity conservation policies in China.

    Conservation and Governance
    Conservation of coral reef systems under Convention on Biological Diversity: China’s performance and suggestions
    Yi Tang, Haoran Yang, Yanxuedan Zhang
    Biodiv Sci. 2022, 30 (2):  21262.  doi:10.17520/biods.2021262
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    Aims Coral reef ecosystems are important protecting targets under the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD). Since its accelerated bleaching has attracted enormous attention in 1998, the conservation of coral reef systems has been a significant topic in the Conference of the Parties (COP). To review China’s compliance under CBD, this article explores the following questions: Whether China fulfills its obligations to protect coral reef systems as prescribed under the CBD? What are the challenges for protecting coral reef systems in China by considering the requirements of the CBD? What suggestions are there for improving compliance with the CBD?

    Methods A comparative method was applied to identify the compliance gap under the CBD. Relevant reports on the changes of coral reef systems in Hainan, Guangxi and Guangdong province at national and provincial levels were explored. The law, regulations, and compliance reports of coral reef protection at national and provincial level were investigated.

    Results The results indicated that China has adopted many specific measures which have reversed the decline of coral reefs in general. However, there are several problems in its compliance, primarily fragmented legislation, the lack of comprehensive strategies and action plans, insufficient adaptation to climate change, inadequate coordination across departments, ineffective management in marine protected areas, low engagement with local communities, unintegrated standards and norms for supervision, poor monitoring data which could not support effective evaluation, little international cooperation, and low public participation.

    Suggestions This study suggests that compliance measures should be taken in consistency with the goals and spirits of the CBD, and in consideration of the post-2020 CBD framework. These measures include enhancing domestic legislative framework, comprehensive action plan and capacity to adapt to climate change, strengthening integrated management and coordination, improving the effectiveness in management of MPAs, ensuring better monitoring and data collection, better international cooperation and enhancing public participation.

    Roadmap for coordinated development of economic construction and ecological protection in protected areas: Take Sanjiangyuan area as an example
    Guanzheng Hu, Weihua Zeng, Bingran Ma
    Biodiv Sci. 2022, 30 (2):  21225.  doi:10.17520/biods.2021225
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    Background There is an urgent need for a measure system to guide the coordinated development of economic construction and ecological protection in the protected area, but most of the relevant planning schemes lack the research on the trade-off relationship between economy and ecology, and the application of roadmap design.

    Methods Representative ecosystem services were selected to quantify the situation of economic construction and ecological protection, relationship between economy and ecology was identified through collaborative trade-off analysis, development objectives of each stage were pointed out, collaborative development measures were put forward from the aspects of scale structure, engineering technology, policies and regulations, and then a collaborative development roadmap was designed.

    Results & Conclusion The case study results of Sanjiangyuan area showed that its economy and ecology were still in a trade-off state because the rate of human demand for natural resources exceeds the rate of resource renewal. Therefore, the development objectives in the early phase (14th Five Year Plan period), the mid-term (2026-2030) and the long-term (2031-2035) were overall layout planning, solving practical problems and helping the backward, the coordinated development measures were put forward, including optimizing and adjusting the scale of social and economic development structure, optimizing the scope and zoning of national parks, improving the carrying capacity and reducing the utilization intensity of grassland, comprehensive ecological compensation mechanism, sustainable alternative livelihood, improving infrastructure construction and the level of public services, and the roadmap was drawn. Thus, support for the planning of Sanjiangyuan National Park was provided.


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