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Table of Content
    Volume 31 Issue 3
    20 March 2023
    Bombax caiba has extensive resource usage methods as well as profound cultural connotations. In this issue, Xiang et al (22524) summarized the traditional biodiversity knowledge in the global B. ceiba cultures, investigated the species diversity of the “Fengshui forest” with B. ceiba as the dominant species in Hainan Island, and elaborated the resource recycling ideas and biodiversity conservation in the kapok-rice agroforestry system. The picture presents the kapok-rice agroforestry system in Changjiang, Hainan. (Photographed by Gengfu Zhang from Jilin Province Photographers Association)
    Original Papers: Plant Diversity
    Preliminary examination of the reintroduction of the endangered plant Petrocosmea qinlingensis
    Jinglong Jiang, Wenbo Yan, Fengcheng Hu, Qi Wang, Wang Sun, Yun Li, Yong Wang
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (3):  22520.  doi:10.17520/biods.2022520
    Abstract ( 662 )   HTML ( 82 )   PDF (25981KB) ( 446 )   Save
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    Aims: Petrocosmea qinlingensis is a Class-II National Key Protected Wild Plant distributed in the Qinling Mountains. It has important value, both ecologically and ornamentally. However, it is endangered and the numbers are few in the wild and thus need urgently strengthen protection and rescue. We are exploring the reintroduction of the endangered plant P. qinlingensis to the wild. This will provide the basis efforts to return P. qinlingensis to the Qinling Mountains as well as the reintroduction of other endangered species.

    Methods: Three different reintroduction sites were selected after inspection. At the same time, we used random quadrat survey and observation photography to record the growth situation and calculate survival rate of P. qinlingensis in the reintroduction sites.

    Results: (1) The difference of altitude, air humidity, soil texture and surface vegetation across three reintroduction sites affected the survival rate of the reintroduced P. qinlingensis. And altitude significantly affected the survival rate of the reintroduced P. qinlingensis among three different reintroduction sites (P < 0.05). (2) Severe drought, rainstorm, and frost in three reintruduction sites caused the loss of P. qinlingensis to varying degrees. (3) After returning to the wild for 12 months, the petioles and leaves of P. qinlingensis elongated, while the number and width of the leaves decreased, as expected.

    Conclusion: Strengthening domestication before returning to the wild and investigation of the microclimate the returning places selected are key factors to determine the success of P. qinlingensis reintroduced to the wild.

    Plant-soil feedbacks differ between native and introduced populations of Alternanthera philoxeroides
    Shiyun Shen, Yuanfei Pan, Liru Chen, Yanli Tu, Xiaoyun Pan
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (3):  22436.  doi:10.17520/biods.2022436
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    Aims: Plant-soil feedback (PSF) is an ecological process in which plants transform the rhizosphere soil environment through growth, thereby impacting the subsequent growth and development of plants. Invasive plants may undergo adaptive evolution, therefore causing different effects on soil environments and impacting the strengths of PSF. Previous studies on PSF of invasive plants focused on comparing the differences between invasive and native plants or between invasive and other invasive species. However, there are relatively few studies dealing with the differences between introduced and native populations (invasive and non-invasive populations) of invasive plants. To address this gap, we conducted an experiment with Alternanthera philoxeroides to study whether native and introduced populations of invasive plants differ in plant-soil feedback in introduced area and how soil microorganisms affect the feedback results. Specially, we addressed the following questions: (1) Is there a difference in PSF between native and introduced populations in the area introduced by A. philoxeroides? (2) Is there a difference in the diversity of the soil rhizosphere microbial community between native and introduced populations of A. philoxeroides?

    Methods: We conducted a common garden experiment in Jiangwan Campus of Fudan University (121°30° E, 31°20° N), Shanghai City in which we grew sixteen populations of the invasive plant A. philoxeroides collected from both the native (Argentina) and the introduced range (China). After nine weeks of growing, we harvested the plants and processed the soil to measure: bacterial diversity (i.e., bacterial richness and bacterial Shannon index), and fungal diversity (i.e., fungal richness and fungal Shannon index). We then cultivated three types of soil (soil conditioned by native populations, soil conditioned by introduced populations and controlled soil) to test their PSF. After five weeks of growing, all plants were collected and the following variables were measured: (1) total biomass, (2) aboveground biomass, (3) underground biomass, and (4) storage root biomass.

    Results: The PSF from introduced A. philoxeroides populations was positive while the PSF of native populations was neutral. The introduced populations showed significant increases in soil bacterial richness (+ 118.3%), bacterial Shannon index (+ 70.0%), fungal richness (+ 76.3%) and fungal Shannon index (+ 193.2%). However, there was no significant difference between the soils conditioned by native populations and the controlled soil.

    Conclusions: These results indicate that in the process of dispersal, the regulation of soil microorganisms by the introduced populations of A. philoxeroides has changed, producing positive plant-soil feedback. Our results provide new experimental evidence for the transformation of PSF in invasive species. Furthermore, we provide a theoretical basis for exploring the mechanisms of successful invasion by alien plants in the future which is necessary for the control and prevention of future plant invasion.

    The effects of environment and species diversity on shrub survival in subtropical forests
    Yujie Xue, Anpeng Cheng, Shan Li, Xiaojuan Liu, Jingwen Li
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (3):  22443.  doi:10.17520/biods.2022443
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    Aims: Shrubs are a vital component of forest ecosystems, playing an important role in maintaining species diversity, promoting nutrient cycling, protecting seedling regeneration, and fostering multi-trophic interactions. Shrub survival is an integral factor in forest community composition and function. However, previous studies lack insights on factors influencing shrub survival. Here, we examed the influence of different factors on shrub survival in order to understand the mechanisms underlying shrub survival.

    Methods: The study examined 105 plots with varying tree and shrub species diversity in the Biodiversity-Ecosystem Functioning Experiment China platform (BEF-China). By collecting shrub survival in 2012 and 2019, topographical variables, soil variables, tree and shrub species richness in plot level, associated with shrub functional traits in species level, we analyzed the effects of abiotic factors, biotic factors and functional traits on shrub survival using the generalized linear mixed model (GLMM).

    Results: We found significant differences in the survival rates among 10 shrub species. Shrubs tended to have higher survival rates in valleys or gently sloping saddles, and in plots with high soil C/N ratio. Neither tree nor shrub diversity had a significant effect on shrub survival, but tree diversity could indirectly improve shrub survival by forming a denser canopy. Shrub functional traits generally significantly affected their survival. For example, shrub species with conservative traits like low specific leaf area, low leaf nitrogen content, small stomatal area, high leaf dry matter content, and high wood density survived better. Abiotic factors had the largest impact on shrub survival, followed by shrub functional traits and then biotic factors. However, the best model for shrub survival included all the factors studied.

    Conclusion: The survival of shrubs is the joint result of many factors. Abiotic factors play an important role and differing functional traits also influence shrub survival. However, the impact of species diversity on shrub survival may need a longer window of observation.

    Lower water table increase shrub plant diversity and biomass but decrease soil organic carbon content: A case study of oligotrophic peatland in the Southwestern Hubei Province
    Hao Wu, Yurong Yu, Jiayu Wang, Yuanbo Zhao, Yafei Gao, Xiaoling Li, Guijun Bu, Dan Xue, Lin Wu
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (3):  22600.  doi:10.17520/biods.2022600
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    Aim: The change of water table level has an obvious causative effect on the vegetation composition and diversity of peatlands, which may profoundly change the carbon sequestration potential of peatlands. However, the exact responses of the diversity of vegetation and soil organic carbon in peatland have to water table fluctuations are still controversial. In addition, there are few reports on the effects of water table level on plant diversity, biomass and soil organic carbon in oligotrophic peatlands in subtropical regions.

    Methods: Soil organic carbon content, species diversity and vegetation biomass of different groundwater levels were compared by one-way ANOVA. Significant difference in species diversity and biomass of plant community were analyzed by LSD multiple comparison method (P = 0.05). Linear correlation analysis was used to compare the correlation among water level, oxygen content, Sphagnum moss and shrub biomass.

    Results: (1) With a decrease in level of the water table, soil water content, soil organic carbon content and polyphenol content all decreased significantly, while dissolved oxygen increased significantly (P < 0.05). Moreover, soil organic carbon at the low-water table (-20 cm) was 72% of that at the high-water table (-4 cm). (2) Water table significantly changed the plant species composition of oligotrophic peatland in the Southwestern Hubei Province. With a decrease in level of the water table, the number of shrub species increased, and the shallow-rooted Ericaceae and Rosaceae were the dominant shrubs. (3) Overall, shrub diversity showed a significant increase with the decrease of water table (P < 0.05), while herbaceous diversity showed no significant change. (4) Water table had no significant effect on the total aboveground biomass of vegetation. However, with the decrease of water table, shrub biomass (P < 0.01) and herbaceous biomass (P < 0.05) significantly increased, while moss biomass decreased.

    Conclusion: This study shows that a higher water table is a key factor to maintain soil organic carbon content in oligotrophic peatlands in the Southwestern Hubei Province, and the increase of vascular plant diversity does not increase the carbon sequestration potential of the peatlands.

    Response of plant community composition to precipitation changes in typical grasslands in the Loess Plateau
    Xinyang Zhou, Yutao Wang, Jianping Li
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (3):  22118.  doi:10.17520/biods.2022118
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    Aim: We explored the response dynamics of typical grassland plant community composition to precipitation changes to provide a theoretical and practical basis for grassland management to cope with global changes.

    Methods: We carried out a 4-year simulated precipitation experiment in a 20-year enclosure grassland in the Loess Plateau. Three different precipitation gradients, 50% (PR), 100% (CK), and 150% (PI) of natural precipitation, were simulated using the canopy, with three biological replicates each. We measured vegetation height, frequency, abundance, density, and biomass in the sample plots. The impact of changes in precipitation on the species diversity and biomass of typical grassland plant communities was quantitatively analyzed.

    Results: (1) We detected significant differences in the responses of vegetation functional groups to precipitation treatments. Compared with CK, the total biomass of legumes and weeds decreased in PR and PI, and legumes decreased by 42.72% and 11.81% in PR and PI, respectively; weeds decreased by 74.49% and 30.42% in PR and PI, respectively, while the total biomass of grasses increased by 26.71% and 97.06% in PR and PI, respectively. (2) Changes in rainfall had significant effects on species richness as well as the Shannon-Wiener index and Simpson index. The intuitive expression is that the structure of the plant community will change, thereby changing the composition of the plants in the plant community. (3) The increase in precipitation had a positive correlation with the biomass of the dominant plant Potentilla acaulis. Changes in precipitation had no significant effect on the total biomass of Stipa bungeana and Artemisia stechmanniana.

    Conclusion: Precipitation changes can influence α diversity index of communities and the biomass of dominant species. Our results provide a theoretical basis for further exploring the impact of climate change on typical grassland ecosystems.

    Vegetation survey and mapping on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau
    Jiawen Sang, Chuangye Song, Ningxia Jia, Yuan Jia, Changcheng Liu, Xianguo Qiao, Lin Zhang, Weiying Yuan, Dongxiu Wu, Linghao Li, Ke Guo
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (3):  22430.  doi:10.17520/biods.2022430
    Abstract ( 640 )   HTML ( 56 )   PDF (2660KB) ( 593 )   Supplementary Material   Save
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    Background & Aim: Surveying and mapping has always been an important part of vegetation research on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Historically, China has performed several vegetation surveys of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and compiled a series of important vegetation maps. In this research, we aim to review the history of vegetation surveys and mapping on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and evaluate the consistency across maps, and to investigate the consistency between vegetation types in several maps and vegetation survey points provided by the Second Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Scientific Expedition and Research Program.

    Results: (1) The vegetation surveys of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau have a long history, with systematic and scientific vegetation surveys of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau starting after the founding of the People’s Republic of China. In vegetation mapping, the Vegetation Map of China (1 : 4,000,000), the Grassland Resource Map of China (1 : 1,000,000), and the Vegetation Map of China (1 : 1,000,000) were the most widely used vegetation maps that cover the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. However, they are quite different in vegetation classification systems. (2) The comparison between different vegetation maps shows that the vegetation formation groups covering a large area, such as forest and grassland, have high consistency between different vegetation maps, while the vegetation formation groups covering a small area, such as aquatic and agricultural vegetation, have low consistency between different vegetation maps. Furthermore, we select Carex parvula meadow, Stipa purpurea grassland, Carex moorcroftii grassland, Stipa glareosa grassland, Carex alatauensis meadow, Artemisia wellbyi grassland, Stipa roborowskyi grassland, and Orinus thoroldii grassland to investigate the differences in the areas and spatial distribution patterns between the Vegetation Map of China (1 : 1,000,000) and the Grassland Resource Map of China (1 : 1,000,000). The results show that there are significant differences in the area and spatial distribution pattern between the two maps for these selected vegetation types. (3) The comparison of vegetation types between vegetation survey points and the Vegetation Map of China (1 : 1,000,000), the Grassland Resource Map of China (1 : 1,000,000), and the Current Vegetation Map of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (2019−2020) indicates that 45.05%, 21.02%, and 50.83% of the vegetation survey points, respectively, are not consistent with the three vegetation maps at the vegetation formation group level. (4) In the past 30 years, due to the influence of climate change and human activities, the vegetation distribution pattern of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau has changed significantly.

    Conclusion: Vegetation survey and mapping technology has undergone great progress in recent decades. Remote imaging with high spatial, temporal, and spectral resolution and deep learning technology have been widely used in vegetation identification and mapping. It is the right time to produce new vegetation maps of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau at medium or large scales, which will provide more detailed and fundamental data for ecosystem management, and ecological restoration projects on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

    Original Papers: Animal Diversity
    The impact of urbanization on regional bird distribution and habitat connectivity in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area
    Qiongyue Zhang, Zhuodi Deng, Xuebin Hu, Zhifeng Ding, Rongbo Xiao, Chen Xiu, Zhenghao Wu, Guang Wang, Donghui Han, Yuke Zhang, Jianchao Liang, Huijian Hu
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (3):  22161.  doi:10.17520/biods.2022161
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    Aim: Rapid economic development and urban expansion have caused dramatic changes in land use in Guangdong- Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GHMGBA), resulting in the urgent need to study their effects on the distributions and habitat connectivity of birds in this area.

    Method: Based on 15 environmental variables, we used the maximum entropy (MaxEnt) model to predict the habitats of 82 bird species in GHMGBA in 2000 and 2015, and then analyzed the changes in bird distribution patterns and habitat connectivity under urbanization using an equivalent connected area index (ECA).

    Results: From 2000 to 2015, areas of forest, water, and farmland decreased by 3.22%, 0.97%, and 23.19% respectively, while grassland, buildings, and other area types (bare land and mudflat) increased by 33.95%, 80.34%, and 453.52% respectively. The distributions of 30 forest or farmland dwelling species decreased, and the distributions of 52 common urban species and waterbirds increased. The distributions of birds were closely related to the type of land use. In addition, habitat connectivity showed a trend consistent with the distribution area. Analysis results of the four species with the largest changes in distributions showed that: the distributions and habitat connectivity of Surniculus lugubris and Yuhina castaniceps decreased with urbanization (i.e., changes in land use types, vegetation coverages, the distances to water and disturbances etc.); whereas the distributions and habitat connectivity of Bubulcus ibis and Ardea cinerea increased with urbanization. Furthermore, the increased area of habitat patches significantly improved the connectivity of habitats.

    Expectation: It is recommended to assess the changes of habitat quality as urban expansion occurs throughout GHMGBA, and to use these assessment results to build ecological corridors and biodiversity protection networks for birds to maintain the safety and stability of the regional ecosystem.

    Use of native and alien plants during night roosting by urban birds in Beijing
    Yexi Zhao, Jiayu Zhang, Zihan Li, Qinmijia Xie, Xin Deng, Nan Wang
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (3):  22399.  doi:10.17520/biods.2022399
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    Aims: With continually increasing urbanization, urban birds are becoming more reliant on the habitat provided by garden plants. At the same time, the proportion of alien plants in urban gardens have gradually increased, becoming an important part of urban bird habitats. Garden plants are the primary roosting site for urban birds, and their reasonable configuration can provide a suitable night roosting environment for birds and maintain urban bird diversity. Studying the use of night roosting plants by urban birds can provide a reference to conservationists for the construction of urban gardens.

    Methods: From 2021 to 2022, infrared thermography was used to observe night-roosting bird behavior in Beijing. The species, diameter at breast height, tree height, canopy of night roosting plants, and perch height of birds were measured and recorded.

    Results & Conclusions: A total of 1,865 recordings consisting of 23 species of birds in 12 families and 45 species of roosting plants in 22 families were documented. The number of native plants and alien plants in the study area accounted for 45.08% and 54.92%, respectively. The number of birds that roost in alien plants at night was about four times that of native plants. The plant with the largest number of night-roosting birds was Juniperus chinensis, followed by Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Phyllostachys propinqua, Platanus occidentalis, and Salix matsudana. The highest rarity-weighted richness of night-roosting birds was Juniperus chinensis, followed by Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Phyllostachys propinqua, Pinus tabuliformis, and Ulmus pumila. The diameter at breast height, tree height, canopy and perch height of night-roosting birds of native plants were significantly higher than those of alien plants. Birds utilized a significantly higher percentage of alien plants whilst roosting in winter (95.44%) than in other seasons (75.37%). Our findings suggest that alien plants enriched the night roosting environment of birds in Beijing urban gardens.

    Influencing factors of spider community diversity in poplar plantations in Xinjiang, China
    Weiwei Lin, Chengming Tian, Dianguang Xiong, Weihang Liu, Ryhguli Sidike, Yingmei Liang
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (3):  22493.  doi:10.17520/biods.2022493
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    Aims: As primary consumers in forest ecosystems, spiders play an important role in maintaining forest biodiversity and ecosystem functions. Poplar is the main afforestation tree species in arid and semi-arid areas, and the diversity of spider community structures in the forest is closely related to the health of poplar plantations. This paper aims to research the influencing factors of the spider community structure in poplar plantations in arid desert areas.

    Methods: Three different forest stand types (forest belt, forest block stand, and farmland shelterbelt) were selected as study areas in the carbon sink forest base of Karamay, with a total of 126 fixed plots were designated, and we utilized the trap method and sweeping web method to investigate spider diversity. The similarity and diversity of spider species structure among stand types were compared by one-way variance analysis of variance (ANOVA), non-metric multi-dimensional scaling analysis (NMDS), and analysis of similarity (ANOSIM), while the understory was examined using correlation analysis. The influence of understory vegetation structure on spider community structure was analyzed and discussed.

    Results: The results indicated that the individual numbers of spiders in farmland shelterbelt was the largest, but the diversity within this forest stand type was significantly lower than that of other stand types. The composition of the spider community in the forest block stand and forest belt were similar, but there was a gap between those types and the farmland shelterbelt. The number of web spiders was the lowest in the forest belt stand, but the diversity was higher than that of other forest stand types. The density, coverage and diversity of understory herbs and shrubs significantly promoted the number of spiders found in each stand type. Herbs had a greater impact on the community structure of web spiders than shrubs.

    Conclusion: Spider community structures and functional diversity are affected by different forest stand types and vegetation structures. This study enriches the content of spider diversity research and provides a reference for understanding forest spider population dynamics. It is also contributed to the understanding of spider population dynamics in poplar plantations in arid regions.

    Original Papers: Genetic Diversity
    Phenotypic plasticity and local adaptation of Oryza rufipogon revealed by common garden trials
    Wenwen Shao, Guozhen Fan, Zhizhou He, Zhiping Song
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (3):  22311.  doi:10.17520/biods.2022311
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    Aims: Understanding of phenotypic plasticity and local adaptation in marginal populations is fundamental for predicting how plants will respond to climate change. Common wild rice Oryza rufipogon is an endangered but agriculturally important rice species, which has its northernmost range in China. Climate warming is the main environmental stress that the northern populations of O. rufipogon have to face in the global climate change scenario. However, relatively little attention has been paid to the phenotypic plasticity and local adaptation of O. rufipogon. Here we test the northern and central populations of O. rufipogon for variations in plant fitness traits under the exposure of different temperatures.

    Methods: Focusing on the northern population of O. rufipogon, with the center populations (middle and southern populations) as the controls, we established experimental populations at three common gardens along a latitudinal-gradient. According to the method of space-for-time substitution, three common gardens were set up in the northernmost boundary, relatively northern and southern areas of the range of O. rufipogon in China (i.e., high, middle and low latitude) to model the phenotypic performance of common wild rice populations under a future climate change scenario.

    Results: The examined populations of O. rufipogon displayed strong phenotypic plasticity, and the levels of phenotypic plasticity varied between populations. The northern population had higher plant height, seed number, and overwintering survival rate at native common garden, suggesting the population’s adaption to relatively low temperature environment. This population could normally set seeds and complete life cycle regardless of whether it was planted northward or southward, demonstrating that it could survive under the future temperature changes. The middle and southern populations did not survive the winter in Shanghai common garden, implying that the low-latitude populations might be more vulnerable to extreme cold climate events.

    Conclusion: These results indicate that O. rufipogon has adaptive differentiation between populations and strong phenotypic plasticity, by which both the northern and central populations can respond to climate warming.

    Species identification and population genetic structure of non-native apple snails (Ampullariidea: Pomacea) in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River
    Jiajia Pu, Pingjun Yang, Yang Dai, Kexin Tao, Lei Gao, Yuzhou Du, Jun Cao, Xiaoping Yu, Qianqian Yang
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (3):  22346.  doi:10.17520/biods.2022346
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    Aims: Apple snails (Pomacea spp.) distribute widely in the Chinese provinces south of the Yangtze River, which are spreading to the northern regions every year. We aimed to determine the identities and distributions of Pomacea species in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River.

    Methods: In this study, we collected apple snail samples from 11 populations in Shanghai and Jiangsu Province at the lower reaches of the Yangtze River. From these samples, we sequenced 270 mitochondrial COI sequences. We retrieved the published Pomacea sequences of other Chinese populations (in the China’s mainland and Hong Kong), Japanese populations, and the native populations in Argentina and Brazil to form a COI dataset of 972 sequences from GenBank. We first identified species based on genetic distance and phylogenetic analysis of haplotypes and then analyzed the population genetic structures based on the parsimony network under 95% parsimony limit using the COI dataset. To compare the genetic diversity of the populations from this study and other Chinese populations, we calculated the haplotype diversity (Hd), nucleotide diversity (π), and average number of nucleotide difference (k) for the populations of P. canaliculata and P. maculata. We conducted the hierarchical analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) of the populations from the south and north of the Yangtze River for P. canaliculata, due to only this species distributed in both banks. Finally, we determined the introgression patterns by genotyping the nuclear EF1α using the primer-specific- multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

    Results: We generated 10 haplotypes (Hap1-10) from the COI dataset, and identified Hap1-9 as P. canaliculata, and Hap10 as P. maculata. Pomacea canaliculata was found in all the surveyed populations, while P. maculata was only found in the Jiangsu populations north of the Yangtze River. The parsimony network of the populations of P. canaliculata split into three sub-networks, and each shared the haplotypes from Argentina. Notably, the sub-network containing Hap5 and Hap7 was firstly discovered in China. Both the parsimony network and the distribution frequencies of the haplotypes revealed that the population structures in this region were similar to the Japanese populations. Hap10 of P. maculata was identical with the dominant haplotype in other regions of China, which was shared with the haplotype from Brazil. The population diversity of P. canaliculata found in this study was the highest compared to other studies (Hd = 0.627), whereas the population diversity of P. maculata from the highest (Hd = 0.356) in Hong Kong. The populations of P. canaliculata across the Yangtze River were divided into three groups by AMOVA analysis, with the major source of molecular variance contributed from the groups. Genotyping the nuclear EF1α gene of the apple snails from this study revealed 52.6% hybrids, which was higher than that of the native populations.

    Conclusion: The P. canaliculata populations in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River likely result from multiple introductions from Argentina, and provide a new history of introduction of P. canaliculata in Shanghai and Jiangsu Province. Pomacea maculata may be introduced from other existing populations in China mainly in Sichuan Basin and Zhejiang Province, which are derived originally from Brazil. The high proportion of hybrids suggest continuous introgressive hybridization during the invasion process. Our results provide important information for the monitoring and effective control of invasive apple snails.

    Original Papers: Biosecurity and Nature Conservation
    Public welfare evaluation index system of national parks: A case study of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau National Park Cluster
    Xinyu Gong, Baorong Huang
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (3):  22571.  doi:10.17520/biods.2022571
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    Aims: Public welfare for all people is one of the three concepts to be adhered to in the construction of national parks in China. However, due to its unclear connotation and lack of effective performance assessment mechanisms, it has not been fully valued by relevant parties. Establishing a set of index systems that can accurately reflect what it means to consider national public welfare in national parks is of great importance for evaluating the effects of implementing the concept of national public welfare in national parks and guiding relevant parties to take targeted measures to improve the national public welfare of national parks.

    Methods: This study conducted an in-depth field investigation of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau National Park Cluster, sorted out the meaning and embodiment of public welfare of major national parks abroad, and analyzed the meaning of public welfare of national parks in China. On this basis, the Delphi method was utilized to conduct two rounds of consultations with 14 well-known experts in this field in the form of electronic questionnaires. The proposed national public welfare evaluation index system was scored, and the national public welfare evaluation index system of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau National Park Cluster was established based on the results of the questionnaire consultation.

    Results: The national park public welfare evaluation index system was established, including five aspects: managers, community residents, relevant enterprises and social organizations, visitors, and the public. There are 5 first-level indicators, 17 second-level indicators, and 35 third-level indicators. The index system includes many aspects such as national park system and mechanisms, the well-being and willingness of community people, the participation of enterprises and social organizations, the experience and participation of visitors, and public participation and perception. Considering the current situation of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, we have also set up indicators such as a medical security system and an emergency rescue system. There was further consideration of increasing the weight of relevant indicators in the actual assessment, such as paying more attention to the safety and security of visitors and the interests of residents in high-altitude areas.

    Conclusion: Through the selection of multi-dimensional indicators, we can systematically and comprehensively evaluate the realization of national public welfare in China’s national parks, especially in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau National Park Cluster. This can fill the gap in the current national public welfare assessment research to a certain extent and promote corresponding indicators that better serve the management of national parks. It also provides an effective path reference for how to realize public welfare in the establishment of future national parks.

    Technology and Methodologies
    Plant species classification of coastal wetlands based on UAV images and object- oriented deep learning
    Yufei Huang, Chunyan Lu, Mingming Jia, Zili Wang, Yue Su, Yanlin Su
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (3):  22411.  doi:10.17520/biods.2022411
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    Aims: Under the influence of high intensity human activities, e.g. urban expansion, offshore pollutant discharge and marine resources over-exploitation, various ecological problems have been caused in recent years, especially plant species decrease, productivity decline and ecological function degradation in coastal wetland. In this context, a quick and accurate understanding of types and distribution of plant species is of great significance to coastal wetland biodiversity conservation and ecological sustainable development. Due to cloud cover in coastal zones, it is difficult to obtain effective data by using optical satellite remote-sensed images. However, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) remote sensing technology can overcome weather constraints and provide intelligent and flexible data acquisition for a feasible technique for plant species monitoring in coastal zones. Compared with pixel-based classification methods, object- oriented classification method can effectively avoid the salt-pepper phenomenon with better classification performance. However, only the low-level features are applied to the object-oriented classification method. Because of this, it is difficult to improve the classification accuracy for complex regions with many plant species. High-level classification features are used by a deep learning method to identify land cover types to achieve higher classification accuracy. In this study, combing UAV remote sensing technology and object-oriented deep learning method, plant species information of coastal wetlands was identified and classified.

    Methods: A representative coastal wetland area, located in Minjiang River estuary of South China, was chosen as the research site. High-resolution visible-light images of Minjiang River estuary wetland were obtained by UAV, and field sampling sites were collected by GPS. By the correction, splicing, and clipping of the UAV images, the digital orthophoto map and digital surface model were obtained. Then, on the basis of object-oriented multiresolution segmentation, the optimal segmentation scale of UAV images was determined by the scale parameter estimation model. The optimal feature combination was selected from spectral, texture, shape and height features based on separability analysis. The U-net deep learning method was used to extract the plant species information of coastal wetlands, and its classification accuracy was compared with four machine learning methods: K-nearest neighbor (KNN), decision tree (DT), random forest (RF) and Bayes.

    Results: Combing object-oriented method and the U-net classification method, the classification results had the better integrity with less mixing and misclassification than other classification. The object-oriented U-net method could effectively avoid the salt-pepper phenomenon with overall accuracy (OA) 95.67% and the Kappa coefficient 0.91. The OA and Kappa coefficient of each classification were in descending order: U-net > Bayes > RF > DT > KNN. There were significant differences between the producer accuracy and user accuracy of a single plant species in different classification methods. Kandelia candel, Phragmites australis and Ipomoea pescaprae had higher identification accuracy, while Scirpus mariqueter and Cyperus malaccensis had lower identification accuracy.

    Conclusion: The object-oriented U-net deep learning method has a favorable classification performance, and its accuracy is significantly higher than other methods in our study. The selection of optimal feature combination is the key to improving the extraction efficiency of coastal wetland plant species information. Our study could provide references for fine classification of coastal wetland plant species, as well as monitoring and biodiversity conservation management of coastal wetlands.

    Applying a new valuation method for endangered species based on extinction risk evaluation and population growth to wildlife related judicial practice
    Zhaocheng Li, Yanxuedan Zhang
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (3):  22319.  doi:10.17520/biods.2022319
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    Background: Classification and listing of wildlife in accordance with criteria of endangerment and preciousness etc., and adoption of different protecting measures pursuant to their value, is the fundamental of wildlife protection system in China. The accuracy of valuation is crucial in achieving protection objectives, effective management and fair punishment for illegal activities. In 2019, the “Valuation Method for Aquatic Species and their Products” (hereinafter referred to as “the Valuation Method”) was promulgated, providing the methods for evaluating the basic value of aquatic wildlife and the actual value of aquatic species in legal cases. However, the Valuation Method does not provide basic value for those newly added species after 2019, but requires that the evaluation should be based on the relatedness to species included in the valuation method classification. Along with more new species into the List of Protection, the Valuation Method is called into question.

    Methods: (1) This paper assessed the Valuation Method in calculating the value of 236 newly added protected species and families in 2021; (2) Based on the findings, this paper used population growth model to established a new valuation method by incorporating extinction risk evaluation of IUCN for endangered species.

    Results: (1) Among all 236 newly added species and families, only 30 species were found basic value in the Valuation Method. Eight species of Class I protection species and 131 species of Class II protection species could only be evaluated by referring to “other species” in the Valuation Method, which caused significant deviation from their true value; 67 other species could not be assigned basic value through the Valuation Method; (2) The proposed method resolved the problem of no basic value by setting a protection factor and costs for recovering individual in a species; Furthermore, we utilized logistic growth model to predict population growth, and applied this model in calculating the impact of illegal capture on growth rate of a certain species, and therefore derive valuation methods applied in legal context.

    Conclusion: The improved valuation method makes up for inadequacy and inapplicability of current valuation method, increases the accuracy of valuation and simplifies the calculation which allows it to apply on legal practice. Based on this method, we also make some suggestions on the legislation and regulation of wildlife protection and valuation criteria.

    A practical guide for estimating the density of unmarked populations using camera traps
    Zhenzhen Li, Mengtian Du, Yuanxin Zhu, Dawei Wang, Zhilin Li, Tianming Wang
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (3):  22422.  doi:10.17520/biods.2022422
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    Background & Aim: Estimating population density is essential for wildlife management and conservation, but it is challenging to achieve. Camera trapping is a pervasive method used in mammal surveys and a cost-effective way to overcome this challenge, for which several methods have been described to estimate population density when individuals are indiscernible (i.e. unmarked populations). However, there are few examples of their use in China. We aim to provide a practical guide for conducting camera trap surveys to estimate the density of mammals applying the random encounter model (REM), random encounter and staying time (REST) model, time in front of the camera (TIFC) model and the camera trap distance sampling (CTDS).

    Review Results: First, we provide a brief explanation about the structure and assumptions of the REM, REST, TIFC and CTDS models. Next, we describe essential steps in planning a field survey: determination of objectives, design of camera placement, and the layout of the camera station. We then develop detail-oriented instruction for conducting a field survey and analyzing the obtained visual data. Finally, for each analytical approach, we compiled the data requirements, advantages, and disadvantages of each to help practitioners navigate the landscape of abundance estimation methods.

    Perspectives: Although multiple methods exist, no one method is optimal for every camera-trap data scenario. While there has been rapid improvement of camera traps in recent decades throughout China, we encourage researchers to evaluate the life history of the focal taxa, carefully define the area of the sampling frame, and enhance the use of camera trapping for estimating densities of unmarked populations.

    Traditional biodiversity knowledge in Bombax ceiba cultures: Inheritance and utilization
    Wenqian Xiang, Wenjuan Wang, Mingxun Ren
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (3):  22524.  doi:10.17520/biods.2022524
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    Background & Aims: Traditional cultures typically harbor some knowledge and skills on sustainably using and protecting natural resources, which is helpful in modern biodiversity conservation and ecological civilization construction. Bombax ceiba is a common tall tree in tropical and subtropical regions. The tall and straight trunk, big, red flowers, and the fruit fiber of B. caiba that can be spun make people know and use B. ceiba for a long time, has caused the nearby civilizations to learn how to ultilize the tree, and form a rich culture surrounding the tree.

    Progress: In Central America and Australia, B. ceiba is mainly used for canoes and carving, while in Asia this unusual tree is of much more importance in utilizations and has become ‘Cultural Keystone Species’ in India, Vietnam, Myanmar and South China, and as a consequence, more ancient trees (> 100 years) of B. ceiba can be found in Asia than other regions. In China, B. ceiba cultures have a long history and can be traced back to Xia and Shang Dynasty since B. ceiba characters is found in SHAN HAI JING and the Sanxingdui Ruins. Due to its high economical use and cultural importance, B. ceiba is always the dominant tree in ‘Fengshui forest’ near villages and farmlands, with some rare species and native vegetation. In Vietnam, Bangladesh, and South China where rice is widely planted long time ago, many B. ceiba trees are kept in the rice fields and formed a special type of agroforestry system, i.e. kapok-rice agroforestry system. Resource recycling ideas and biodiversity conservation thoughts can be found within the traditional farming practices in this system, which is promising for applying China’s important agricultural cultural heritage to modern day conservation methods, although the underlying ecological mechanism is in need of further illumination.

    Prospects: It is the important to explore the ecological basis of Bombax cultures and their associated biodiversity knowledge with modernized practices, with an aim to facilitate tropical special high-efficiency agriculture, rural vitalization, and ecological civilization.

    Development status and document analysis: A review on terrestrial vertebrate field surveys in China
    Zhenghao Wu, Zhifeng Ding, Zhixin Zhou, Jianchao Liang, Zhuoting Wang, Yaning Zhang, Yiming Hu, Huijian Hu
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (3):  22363.  doi:10.17520/biods.2022363
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    Aim: To understand the history and contemporary status of terrestrial vertebrate diversity surveys in China by analyzing the existing problems and suggesting the corresponding solutions.

    Method: We searched publications on terrestrial vertebrate field surveys from CNKI Database, Web of Science Core Collection Database and Duxiu Scholar Database with “mammals” “avian” “birds” “reptilians” “amphibians” “survey” “monitor” “new species” “new records” “animal resources” and “species diversity” as keywords. We reviewed the surveys on the terrestrial vertebrates since 1949 in China. We analyzed and compared the distribution of surveys among provinces and biodiversity hotspots, as well as the survey methods and techniques used.

    Review Results: Compared with the surveys of mammals, amphibians and reptiles in China, surveys of birds appeared most (70.26% of all publications considered). The terrestrial vertebrate field surveys in Sichuan Province (285 publications) and Yunnan Province (260 publications) were more extensive in coverage than those in other regions. The number of surveys was different in the four biodiversity hotspots. The Indo-Burma hotspot (348 publications) and “Mountains of Southwest China” (324 publications) had more publications, and “Mountains of Central Asia” (71 publications) and “Himalaya” (66 publications) had fewer publications. The common methods on terrestrial vertebrate diversity surveys were: the line transect method, the point sampling method, the quadrat sampling method and the direct count method. The line transect method was the most frequently used in all the application scenarios (e.g., alpine tundra, farmland, city, etc.). Observation, capture, and camera traps were the most widely used sampling techniques. The observation sampling technique was the most frequently used in all application scenarios (e.g., city, wetland, grassland, etc.). At present, terrestrial vertebrate field surveys have made a lot of progress, including the development of new species data collection methods and identification techniques (e.g. unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology in the search of large mammals and mixed-waterbirds, satellite tracking technology in the search of migratory birds, etc.), and the improvement of survey methods and data management in the era of “big data”, among others.

    Going Forward: In the future, we should broaden the application of new species data collection methods and identification techniques, and explore new techniques for terrestrial vertebrate surveys. Furthermore, we should improve the population data analysis and the survey management system based on “big data” which is prevalent. Lastly, in addition to developing biodiversity protection measures, the results of terrestrial vertebrate surveys should be oriented to the public, and in doing this, the general public shall gain interest in biodiversity protection.

    The impact of anthropogenic noise, artificial light at night and road kills on amphibians
    Yixin Jiang, Yingying Shi, Shuo Gao, Supen Wang
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (3):  22427.  doi:10.17520/biods.2022427
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    Background & Aim: Global biodiversity decline is a major ecological problem around the world today. As an important indicator for measuring the environment, amphibians have received more and more attention from researchers in recent years. In this paper, we focus on amphibians which are the most threatened species of vertebrate to analyze the existing problems and suggest the corresponding solutions.

    Method: Firstly, we analyze the effects of three most prominent factors in human activities, i.e., anthropogenic noise, artificial light at night and road kills on amphibians reproduction, population growth rate, physiology, and behavior by retrieving existing literature from 2003 to 2021, and extracting and integrating key words. Secondly, the mitigation measures regarding anthropogenic noise, artificial light at night and road kills are summarized and suggestions for improvement are made.

    Review Results: Amphibian calling behavior was altered by anthropogenic noise, showing variations in call rate, dominant frequency, and call duration. It is yet unclear how different amphibians calling respond to anthropogenic noise differently and whether call variations are advantageous to the amphibians’ long-term growth. By obscuring the perception of male acoustic signals by females and impacting sperm count and sperm viability in males, anthropogenic noise can also affect the reproductive behavior of amphibians. Amphibian growth rates and behavioral activity time were slowed down by artificial light at night. In addition, artificial light at night can change corticosterone levels in amphibians and hence have an impact on their physiology. Amphibian population size was directly impacted by road kills. This study makes recommendations for improvement in light of the aforementioned detrimental effects, including bolstering the road infrastructure, constructing noise barriers to muffle noise, reducing light intensity in dense amphibian areas, building amphibian corridors, etc.

    Perspective: Specific conservation strategies that seek to improve protection measures, planning management and monitoring of amphibian population dynamics should be implemented in order to reduce the impact of human activities on this group of vertebrates.

    Conservation and Governance
    Identifying the management system for national parks in China
    Tianao Chen, Xiang Li
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (3):  22485.  doi:10.17520/biods.2022485
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    Background & Aim: China has officially established the first batch of national parks and is currently building the world’s largest national park system. Achieving unified, standardized and efficient management is an important challenge, and to address this need, this paper analyzes how to build national parks with high quality and optimize governance systems.

    Review Results: We analyzed the difficulties and problems in the current management model of national parks in China through document analysis and compares the management systems of national parks in the United States, Canada, Australia and Brazil. We found that the management of national parks in China at the central level contains some gaps that may compromise high quality management of system. Currently, the forest resource supervision office (FRSO) is responsible for establishing the management organization of each national park and its post-supervision functions; however, this has drawbacks and the FRSO has difficulty fulfilling its role. In addition, there are problems such as the need to optimize the establishment of the FRSO and in addition, it is at times unclear how to solve management problems of cross-provincial boundary national parks. Some countries with large land areas have established a two-level management system at the central level, for example, the National Park Administration and the regional offices (regional management branch), to promote management on the ground. Talking into account the actual situation of China, the management system of national park should incorporate an optimization plan for implementing the park supervision functions, promote regional management, and define the responsibilities of all parties in the vertical management hierarchy.

    Suggestions & Perspectives: Based on the review of the China’s national park system as well as other international system, management could be improved by modifying the top-level design from the central level, building the national park administration district bureau management system as soon as possible, integrating the existing 15 FRSOs of the National Forestry and Grassland Administration, establishing 6‒7 national park regional bureaus, transferring the resource supervision function to the remaining 8‒9 FRSOs, and clarifying the responsibilities for the management of national parks in China.

    Market status and the sustainable utilization strategy of wild earthworm (earth dragon) for medicinal use
    Jingjing Zhao, Haibin Jia, Tien Ming Lee
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (3):  22478.  doi:10.17520/biods.2022478
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    Aim: Earthworm (also known as earth dragon) is a commonly used animal traditional Chinese medicine resource. It has high medicinal value, particularly for treating cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. In the recent decade, “electric shocking” methods using electric earthworm machines have been used to increase the harvesting yield of wild earthworms. While such a method can improve harvesting efficiency, it may be unsustainable, threatening wild earthworm populations and negatively affecting soil habitats. This paper aims to analyze the potential effect of “electric shocking” on the national earth dragon market.

    Methods: We used the largest national dataset on market price (1998.2‒2022.7), the market supply (2004‒2021) and the market demand (2004‒2021) to analyze market characteristics and their relationships. To better understand the potential effect of “electric shocking” on the national earth dragon market, we used Bayesian structural time-series models to analyze the impact of “electric shocking” on supply quantity and market price.

    Results: Our results showed that: (1) From 1998 to 2022, the price of earth dragons has been on the rise, with seasonal fluctuations, and the highest price attained was 175 yuan/kg; (2) The market value of earth dragons increased yearly, but the current price appeared to be below the commodity value, thus the market was in an unstable state; (3) Even after controlling for market demand, compared with the predicted results without the popularization of the “electric shocking” methods, the popularization of the “electric shocking” harvesting methods in 2013 had significantly increased the supply quantity of earth dragons, yet the market price had decreased significantly. The average supply has increased by 40% prior to 2013, however the market price has decreased by 44%.

    Suggestions: We strongly recommend that the pharmaceutical management department does the following: (1) accelerating the establishment of a market monitoring and early warning mechanism for wild medicinal animal resources; (2) strengthening the rectification and standardization of the market regulations, and (3) integrating sustainability evaluation for the trade of wild animal medicine.

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