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    Original Papers: Plant Diversity
    Community composition and structure in a 25 ha mid-subtropical mountain deciduous broad-leaved forest dynamics plot in Shennongjia, Hubei, China
    Jiaxin Wei, Zhiguo Jiang, Linsen Yang, Huanhuan Xiong, Jiaojiao Jin, Fanglin Luo, Jiehua Li, Hao Wu, Yaozhan Xu, Xiujuan Qiao, Xinzeng Wei, Hui Yao, Huiliang Yu, Jingyuan Yang, Mingxi Jiang
    Biodiv Sci. 2024, 32 (3):  23338.  doi:10.17520/biods.2023338
    Abstract ( 509 )   HTML ( 17 )   PDF (3998KB) ( 483 )   Save
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    Aims: The deciduous broad-leaved forest in Shennongjia is a typical ecosystem that is well preserved on the northern edges of the middle subtropical zone. In order to explore underlying mechanisms of species diversity maintenance and forest dynamics in a mid-subtropical mountain region, a 25 ha forest dynamics plot of deciduous broad-leaved forest was constructed on the southern slope of Shennongjia in 2022, following the protocol of the Forest Global Earth Observatory (ForestGEO) and the Chinese Forest Biodiversity Monitoring Network (CForBio). The establishment of this plot had complemented the forest dynamics monitoring network in China.
    Methods: Based on the survey data of all woody plants (omitting bamboo and vines) with diameter at breast height (DBH) ≥ 1 cm, the plot was analyzed based on community composition, plant flora, and community structure. All of these individuals had been subjected to species identification, DBH measurement and coordinate measurement.
    Results: Results suggested that the plot, characterized by an elevation difference of 334 m, accommodated 61,054 surviving individuals (total 97,664 individuals including branches) belonging to 149 species (including varieties), 79 genera and 44 families of woody plants. There were 28 evergreen and 121 deciduous tree species, respectively, and 44 (29.5%) rare species (< 1 ind./ha) were recorded in the plot. Individuals with sprouts accounted for 26.8% of the total population, while species with sprouts accounted for 93.3% of the total number of the plot. The plot had typical transitional characteristics from the middle subtropical zone to the north subtropical zone, dominated by both tropical families (43.2%, 19 families) and north temperate genera (44.3%, 35 genera). The canopy layer was dominated by Quercus aliena var. acutiserrata and Fagus engleriana, with importance values of 7.5% and 6.6%. The average DBH of trees species was 7.71 cm, and individuals with DBH ≤ 10 cm were dominant (76.7%). The size class distribution of dominant species mainly showed both an inverted “J” type and a normal distribution type.
    Conclusion: Shennongjia mid-subtropical montane deciduous broad-leaved forest is rich in species diversity and diverse in flora, compared to plots at similar latitudes. The community structure is stable, with a high root sprouting ratio and successful regeneration.

    Seed predation and dispersal by animals of an endangered endemic species Pinus dabeshanensis
    Yang Ding, Yingqun Feng, Jinyu Zhang, Bo Wang
    Biodiv Sci. 2024, 32 (3):  23401.  doi:10.17520/biods.2023401
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    Aim: Pinus dabeshanensis, an endemic species in the Dabieshan Mountains, has significant scientific values for studying the taxonomy, phylogenetic relationships, and distribution of the genus Pinus. Currently, the wild population of P. dabeshanensis is severely limited in natural regeneration and is critically endangered. Here, we explored the potential effects of seed predation and dispersal by animals on the regeneration of P. dabeshanensis.
    Methods: First, we investigated the seed production of P. dabeshanensis by focusing all the adult trees in two 1-ha plots (n = 88). Second, by tracking the fate of 2,000 seeds, we compared the seed predation and dispersal by animals between P. dabeshanensis and three sympatric tree species. These included two dominant native species, Castanea seguinii and Quercus serrata, and an introduced species Pinus armandii that is a sister species of P. dabeshanensis, which all mainly depend on scatter-hoarding animals for seed dispersal. Third, we compared the visitation frequency of potential seed predators and dispersers between P. dabeshanensis and its sympatric species by using camera-trap surveys.
    Results: The results showed that: (1) The seed production of P. dabeshanensis was low, with only 312 cones produced by 21 of the 88 adult trees surveyed, and the seed abortion rate reaching 51.89% ± 0.07% (mean ± SE). (2) A total of 146 cones were collected to assess the seed predation by birds, and 90 of them were pecked by birds which was significantly more than un-pecked cones (n = 56), with an average pecking intensity of 8.94% ± 0.55%. (3) Small rodents and ground-dwelling birds (e.g., Garrulus glandarius) were the main visitors to the seeds in the forest ground, and visitation frequency varied significantly among different tree species. Specifically, for P. dabeshanensis, birds visited the seeds more frequently (n = 77) than rodents (n = 46). (4) Seeds of C. seguinii were harvested the fastest, followed by Q. serrata and P. dabeshanensis, while P. armandii were harvested the slowest. (5) Of the 2,000 seeds released in the forest, 157 seeds were successfully dispersed, including 96 P. armandii seeds and 57 P. dabeshanensis seeds, which were significantly more than C. seguinii (3 seeds) and Q. serrata (1 seed). (6) The seed dispersal distance of C. seguinii was 13.9 ± 4.0 m (mean ± SE), followed by P. dabeshanensis (7.3 ± 0.8 m), P. armandii (3.8 ± 0.4 m) and Q. serrata (1.5 m, only one seed was successfully dispersed).
    Conclusion: In conclusion, both rodents and birds are potential seed dispersers of P. dabeshanensis. Compared to sympatric tree species, P. dabeshanensis does not suffer heavy seed predation or limited seed dispersal, indicating that seed predation pressure and seed dispersal limitation do not explain the poor natural regeneration of P. dabeshanensis. In addition, our results suggest that the low seed production and high abortion rate may be important factors hindering the natural regeneration of P. dabeshanensis.

    The species coexisted in mangrove communities through niche differentiation of flooding time and salinity
    Xiaobo Lü, Donghai Li, Xiaobo Yang, Mengwen Zhang
    Biodiv Sci. 2024, 32 (3):  23302.  doi:10.17520/biods.2023302
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    Aims: Mangroves are woody plant communities that thrive in the intertidal zone of tropical and subtropical gulf estuaries, enduring periodic inundation by seawater. Understanding how mangrove plants adapt to this challenging environment and achieve multi-species separation and coexistence has been a focal point of research. Niche theory serves as an important framework for studying species coexistence within communities, with seedlings playing a crucial role in population renewal. The study aimed to construct a miniature mangrove community by selecting six widely distributed species found on Hainan Island and simulating different intertidal environments through manipulation of seawater salinity, flooding time, and light intensity.
    Methods: The net photosynthetic rate of these six species’ seedlings was measured under various controlled conditions, while statistical analysis was conducted to examine niche width, overlap, and offset among the seedlings across three resource dimensions: seawater salinity, flooding time, and light intensity. This endeavor seeked to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the separation and coexistence of mangrove plants within the intertidal zone.
    Results: The results indicated that in terms of flooded water resources, the Avicennia marina (0.956) was the larger niche width and Ceriops tagal (0.906) was the smallest among the 6 seedlings. The niche overlaps were higher in Avicennia marina, Aegiceras corniculatum and Rhizophora stylosa, while they were higher in Kandelia obovata, Bruguiera sexangula and Ceriops tagal. The degree of niche separation reflected that among the species with a theoretical niche center of 12 h/d, Avicennia marina (0.698) exhibited a wider range of adaptation to flooding; whereas among the species with a theoretical niche center of 8 h/d, Kandelia obovata (0.185) showed a broader range of adaptation to flooding; and among the species with a theoretical niche center of 4 h/d, Bruguiera sexangula (0.115) demonstrated extensive adaptability to flooding. In terms of salinity resources, the Avicennia marina (0.987) exhibited the widest niche width, while Kandelia obovata (0.496) had the smallest niche width. The niche overlaps were high among Avicennia marina, Aegiceras corniculatum and Rhizophora stylosa; similarly, Bruguiera sexangula and Ceriops tagal showed significant overlap, whereas Kandelia obovata and other species displayed low levels of overlap. The degree of niche separation indicated that Avicennia marina (4.357) had a broader range of salinity adaptation in species with a theoretical niche center of 20, whereas Ceriops tagal (10.594) demonstrated greater adaptability to varying salinity levels in species with a theoretical niche center of 10. In terms of light resources, Ceriops tagal (0.995) had the widest niche width, while Avicennia marina (0.828) had the smallest niche width. The mangrove species exhibited higher levels of niche overlap. The degree of niche separation indicated that among species with a theoretical niche center of 100% light, Rhizophora stylosa (23.138) displayed a larger range of light adaptation, whereas among species with a theoretical niche center of 80% light, Ceriops tagal (12.522) showed a greater range of light adaptation.
    Conclusion: Combined with the niche analysis of flooding, salinity, and light resources, it is evident that the niche differentiation of each species in terms of flooding and salinity resources occurs relatively early and prominently. Each species occupies distinct ecological niches characterized by low overlap and weak competition for these resources, thereby achieving separation and coexistence in the intertidal zone. However, niche differentiation in light resources appears relatively delayed and inconspicuous. The majority of plants are sun plants exhibiting high niche overlap and strong competition for light.

    Evolution characteristics of submerged macrophyte community diversity in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River in the past seventy years (1954-2021)
    Yaoqi Chen, Jingjing Guo, Guojun Cai, Yili Ge, Yu Liao, Zheng Dong, Hui Fu
    Biodiv Sci. 2024, 32 (3):  23319.  doi:10.17520/biods.2023319
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    Aims: Submerged macrophytes play a crucial role in maintaining the health and stability of shallow lake ecosystems. Understanding their long-term dynamics and driving factors has significant theoretical and practical implications for the ecological restoration and eutrophication control of lakes.
    Method: We analyzed the α- and β-diversity patterns of submerged macrophytes over the nearly 70 years (1954-2021) focused on the 17 lakes in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River. The β-diversity was further decomposed into turnover and nestedness components using the Sørensen dissimilarity index. This method allowed us to explore the linkages between changes in the lake environmental heterogeneity and the submerged macrophyte community diversity patterns.
    Results: (1) At the lake scale, α-diversity of submerged macrophytes exhibited a decreasing trend in 11 lakes, while most lakes presented no significant changes in βtemporal-diversity (variations in community structure between different years within the same lake). This result was primarily driven by the nestedness component. (2) At the watershed scale, the α-diversity of submerged macrophytes showed a trend of increasing first and then decreasing during the evolutionary process. The βspatial-diversity (variations in community structure between different lakes during the evolutionary process) exhibited a gradual decrease, while lake environmental heterogeneity showed a gradual increase. (3) Lakes with higher environmental heterogeneity tended to have lower α-diversity and higher β-diversity. These changes were likely the combined result of various factors including human activities, water pollution, hydrological changes, and climate variability.
    Conclusion: Although the specific mechanisms require further investigation, we contribute to current research by providing theoretical significance for the management and conservation of lake ecosystems in the middle and lower Yangtze River Basin. Our study provides a scientific basis for formulating effective conservation strategies and measures.

    Original Papers: Animal Diversity
    Nested distribution patterns of bird assemblages and their influencing factors in Zhengzhou urban parks
    Peng Wang, Jiarong Sui, Xinyao Ding, Weizhong Wang, Xueqian Cao, Haipeng Zhao, Yanping Wang
    Biodiv Sci. 2024, 32 (3):  23359.  doi:10.17520/biods.2023359
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    Aims: To determine the nestedness distribution patterns and their influencing factors for communities of all birds, forest birds, and waterbirds in Zhengzhou urban parks.
    Methods: Bird data were collected for 15 urban parks in Zhengzhou City, Henan Province, from March to July of each year from 2019 to 2022 at the China Bird-watching Record Center ( The data were further checked and corrected according to A Field Guide to the Birds of China and A Checklist on the Classification and Distribution of the Birds of China. For each urban park, we collected five habitat variables (park area, two isolation indices, number of habitat types, and building index), which are generally thought to influence nestedness patterns. For each species, we selected four life-history traits that reflect extinction and migration tendencies: body size, geographic range size, clutch size, and minimum area requirement. We used WNODF (weighted nestedness metric based on overlap and decreasing fill) to calculate the nestedness patterns of bird communities. We used the ss null model algorithm to randomly generate 1,000 matrices and estimated statistical results within a 95% confidence interval.
    Results: From 2019 to 2022, 234 bird species belonging to 53 families and 17 orders were recorded in the 15 urban parks, including 144 forest bird species belonging to 33 families and 4 orders, and 67 waterbird species belonging to 13 families and 7 orders. Among the 234 bird species, 5 species were endemic to China, 2 species were classified as first-class national protected animals, and 30 species were classified as second-class national protected animals. The number of bird species surveyed in each park ranged from 19 to 135. The WNODF analysis results showed the avian communities in Zhengzhou urban parks were significantly nested. The nestedness communities of all birds, forest birds, and waterbirds in Zhengzhou urban parks was significantly associated with park area and certain extinction-related ecological characteristic (minimum area requirement). The habitat-site matrix in Zhengzhou urban parks was also significantly nested, which agrees with the habitat nestedness hypothesis. The building index, a measure of urbanization degree, also affected the the nestedness of waterbird assemblages. However, the nestedness of communities of all birds, forest birds, and waterbirds in Zhengzhou urban parks was not correlated with two isolation indices and body length, rejecting the selective immigration hypothesis. The nestedness of communities of all birds, forest birds, and waterbirds in Zhengzhou urban parks also did not support the passive sampling hypothesis.
    Conclusions: The nestedness patterns for communities of all birds, forest birds, and waterbirds in Zhengzhou urban parks are consistent with the selective extinction hypothesis and habitat nestedness hypothesis. To effectively conserve bird diversity, large parks with diverse habitats should be protected because park area and habitat diversity are important factors affecting the nestedness patterns of bird assemblages. In addition, bird species with large minimum area requirements should be given prior protection since these species are at a higher risk of local extinction. Finally, as waterfowl and forest birds respond differently to urbanization, these two types of birds should be treated differently when considering conservation strategies.

    The Ficus breeding system and the resource utilization of fig wasps shape the fig wasp community
    Zhirong Feng, Mingbo Chen, Xiaofang Yang, Gang Wang, Yiyi Dong, Yanqiong Peng, Huayan Chen, Bo Wang
    Biodiv Sci. 2024, 32 (3):  23307.  doi:10.17520/biods.2023307
    Abstract ( 216 )   HTML ( 11 )   PDF (2752KB) ( 219 )   Supplementary Material   Save
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    Aims: Species-resource utilization networks can illustrate the competition, sharing, and differentiation among different species in resource utilization, providing a novel perspective on understanding species diversity within communities. Insect communities are influenced by both the resource utilization patterns of species within the community and the ecological traits of host plants. Explaining species-resource utilization network metrics in the context of host ecological traits will help reveal the organization and factors that determine species diversity in insect communities.
    Methods: In this study, we collected fig wasp communities from 18 Ficus species. Subsequently, we built fig wasp-fig fruit resource utilization networks for each Ficus species, examined the correlations between network metrics, and assessed how various host characteristics (such as pollination type, life form, and breeding system) affected these network metrics.
    Results: From the 18 Ficus species, we collected 173 species of fig wasps belonging to 28 genera and 5 different families. The species number of fig wasp community was negatively correlated with connectance of the fig wasp-fig resource utilization networks and positively correlated with C score (a measure of resource utility differentiation). Robustness did not significantly correlation with species number, but it showed a positive correlation with connectence, WNODF (weighted nestedness metric based on overlap and decreasing fill), Shannon diversity for interaction, and distribution overlap. It was, however, significantly negatively correlated with specialization and C score. When compared to dioecious fig trees, monoecious fig trees exhibited a higher level of specialization, lower distribution overlap, and greater C score. Meanwhile, monoecious fig trees hosted more fig wasp species than dioecious fig trees.
    Conclusion: All of these findings suggest that the specialization and differentiation (as indicated by the C score) in resource utilization among fig wasps enhance the richness of species within the community. This underscores the essential role of interspecific competition for resources in driving diversification among closely related species. Robustness to resource loss of community is not linked to species richness but is instead correlated with the extent of species coexistence, denoted by connectence and distribution overlap. Additionally, the breeding system also plays a role in the diversification of fig wasps, possibly by restricting the oviposition of non-pollinating fig wasps.

    Community structure of macrobenthos and ecological health evaluation in the restoration area of the Yellow River Delta wetland
    Yanmei Ni, Li Chen, Zhiyuan Dong, Debin Sun, Baoquan Li, Xumin Wang, Linlin Chen
    Biodiv Sci. 2024, 32 (3):  23303.  doi:10.17520/biods.2023303
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    Aims: The internationally important wetland biodiversity conservation project of the Yellow River Delta started in 2019. This study used macrobenthos community characteristics and their relationship with environmental factors to understand the health status of this ecosystem and assess the succession stage and repair effect after three years of restoration.
    Methods: This study investigated the macrobenthos and environmental factors in the restoration area in May (spring), August (summer) and October (autumn) in 2022, respectively. The community structure, biodiversity, and their relationships with major environmental factors were analyzed by classical taxonomy, biodiversity index, cluster analysis, multi-dimensional scaling analysis, and Spearman correlation analysis.
    Results: A total of 16 macrobenthic species belonging to 5 phyla, 6 classes and 15 families were collected in spring, summer and autumn. Insecta species were found dominant in species composition. The number of macrobenthic species in the Yellow River Delta wetland restoration area showed an increasing trend during the survey period, with Chironomidae sp., Radix swinhoei, and Hippeutis cantori becoming the dominant species in the area, as well as key characteristic and differential species in the community structure. The species density was significantly correlated with indicators such as specific conductance, salinity, total carbon, ammonium nitrogen, and nitrite nitrogen (P < 0.01). The rapid biological comprehensive evaluation index evaluated the restoration area as the “sub-health” state.
    Conclusion: The restoration area is developing towards a healthier and more orderly direction but is currently in a “sub-health” state, indicating a need for continued restoration work. Ecological succession is a slow process which requires long-term ecological monitoring in our research area, including an analysis of the reconstruction process of the disturbed macrobenthic community structure in the Yellow River Delta ecological restoration area, and an exploration of the regular changes in ecological succession.

    Effects of precipitation regime change and nitrogen deposition on soil nematode diversity in the grassland of northern China
    Kexin Cao, Jingwen Wang, Guo Zheng, Pengfeng Wu, Yingbin Li, Shuyan Cui
    Biodiv Sci. 2024, 32 (3):  23491.  doi:10.17520/biods.2023491
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    Aims: Changes in precipitation and nitrogen deposition significantly affect ecological functions and processes. As the most important soil organisms in terrestrial ecosystems, nematodes participate in various ecological processes. However, it remains unclear how the functional and phylogenetic diversity of nematode communities respond to changes in precipitation patterns and how nitrogen deposition regulates these responses. This paper aims to explore the effects of long-term precipitation intensity changes on soil nematode diversity and how changes in precipitation patterns affect soil nematode functional and phylogenetic diversity with and without nitrogen addition.
    Methods: In this study, an 8-year experimental simulation of precipitation patterns and nitrogen addition was conducted, including precipitation intensity 2 mm, 5 mm, 10 mm, 20 mm, 40 mm and nitrogen addition (10 g N·m-2·yr-1). The diversity of soil nematodes was determined through taxonomy.
    Results: The results showed that larger precipitation intensity increased the functional α diversity and phylogenetic α diversity of soil nematodes, while decreasing the taxonomic β diversity and phylogenetic β diversity. Nitrogen addition decreased the taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic α diversity, while increasing taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic β diversity. An increase in functional and phylogenetic diversity was observed under moderated and high precipitation intensity treatments. Soil water content and soil microbial biomass carbon content were the main factors impacting the functional and phylogenetic diversity of soil nematodes.
    Conclusions: Due to global climate change, an increase in rainfall intensity in the coming decades may favor an increase in soil nematode functional and phylogenetic diversity in arid and semi-arid ecosystems. However, in areas with heavy nitrogen deposition, this positive effect may be offset by the deterioration of the soil environment caused by nitrogen deposition.

    Original Papers: Microbial Diversity
    The diversity and assembly mechanism of phyllosphere fungal communities in the relict plant Helianthemum songaricum
    Zhang Xuan, Xu Ying, Yang Yanci, Zhao Yanling, Men Zhonghua, Wang Yonglong
    Biodiv Sci. 2024, 32 (3):  23384.  doi:10.17520/biods.2023384
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    Aim: Phyllosphere micro-organisms are crucial to plant growth and development, but little is known about the diversity and community structure of phylloshphere fungi in Helianthemum songaricum.
    Methods: In this study, Illumina high-throughput sequencing techniques were used to detect the diversity of phyllosphere epiphytic and endophytic fungi in H. songaricum collected from Qipanjing, Lasengmiao, and Qianlishan in the West Ordos Nature Reserve. In addition, we investigated the characteristics of their network structure and the mechanisms of their community assembly.
    Results: For H. songaricum sampled from Qipanjing, the phyllosphere epiphytic fungal richness index (156.38 ± 8.42) was significantly higher than that of endophytic fungi (111.13 ± 5.57). Besides, the phyllosphere epiphytic fungal richness index of H. songaricum sampled from Qipanjing was significantly higher than that of those sampled from Lasengmiao (125.57 ± 7.20) and Qianlishan (114.75 ± 10.35). On the contrary, the endophytic fungal richness index of H. songaricum sampled from Lasengmiao (155.71 ± 15.40) was significantly higher than those sampled from Qipanjing. Phyllosphere fungi were dominated by Ascomycota, Mucormycota, and Basidiomycota, with significant indicator taxa for phyllosphere epiphytic and endophytic fungi at the three sampling locations, suggesting that the leaf position (leaf surface and leaf interior) and sampling site significantly influenced the community composition of phyllosphere fungi. Co-occurrence network analysis showed that the phyllosphere epiphytic and endophytic fungi were mainly synergistic, with limited antagonistic effects. In addition, the assembly of phyllosphere epiphytic and endophytic fungal communities in H. songaricum was mainly driven by stochastic processes.
    Conclusion: The diversity and community composition of phyllosphere epiphytic and endophytic fungi of H. songaricum are significantly influenced by leaf position (leaf surface and leaf interior) and sampling site, with stochastic processes dominating the community assembly of phyllosphere epiphytic and endophytic fungi. This research provides valuable scientific insight and practical guidance for the conservation and rational utilization of H. songaricum.

    Original Papers: Ecosystem Diversity
    Priority assessment for natural vegetation conservation in Yunnan Province by integrating threatened status and conservation value
    Siqi Tao, Feiling Yang, Chaolang Hua, Ruidong Wu
    Biodiv Sci. 2024, 32 (3):  23324.  doi:10.17520/biods.2023324
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    Aims: Priority assessment for natural vegetation conservation is an important foundation for formulating conservation plans and allocating conservation resources. Currently, only a single factor is often employed in the assessment of vegetation conservation, and studies on systematically combining multiple factors to assess priorities in vegetation conservation are scarce. This study therefore aims to assess the conservation priorities of natural vegetation types by integrating their threatened status and conservation values.
    Methods: We assessed the conservation priorities of 104 natural formations in Yunnan Province. First, we determined the threatened status of the formations based on their declining and restricted distribution (Criteria A and B) according to the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems. We then assessed the conservation value of each formation by calculating the weighted sum of three indicators, namely endangered species richness, canopy height, and carbon storage. We finally calculated the conservation priorities of the formations by integrating the data layers of threatened status and conservation value. Based on the priority assessment results, we further classified the formations into four types.
    Results: The results were as follows: (1) 66.3% of the 104 formations were characterized as vulnerable (VU), endangered (EN), or critically endangered (CR), the restricted distribution range of the formations was the key factor influencing the assessment of their threatened status. (2) 45.2% of all formations had a high or extremely high degree of conservation value, whereas 38.5% of all formations had a moderate conservation value; overall, vegetation quality was high. (3) The integrated assessment results suggest that priority conservation should focus on the 31 formations with high or extremely high conservation values characterized as threatened. Secondary priority conservation is recommended for the 26 formations with moderate conservation value and threatened status, whereas proactive conservation measures should be implemented for the 16 formations with extremely high or high conservation values but not currently threatened, and implementing general conservation for all other formations. (4) The coverage ratio of priority, secondary and proactive conservation vegetation in Yunnan’s nature reserves was 19.5%, 9.7%, and 16.9% respectively, with some conservation gaps.
    Conclusion: We assessed the conservation priorities of natural vegetation by considering both threatened status and conservation value. The methods and analysis developed in this study provide vital science-based support for regional conservation planning and actions in terms of ecosystem conservation.

    Technology and Methodologies
    The application potential of unmanned aerial vehicle surveys in grassland plant diversity
    Fengming Wan, Huawei Wan, Zhiru Zhang, Jixi Gao, Chenxi Sun, Yongcai Wang
    Biodiv Sci. 2024, 32 (3):  23381.  doi:10.17520/biods.2023381
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    Aims: The biodiversity of grassland is essential for maintenance of the ecosystems’ services. Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) remote sensing has attracted much attention in the survey and research of grassland species in recent years with its advantages of flexibility, high resolution, high efficiency, and low cost. However, current research on UAV surveys of grassland plant diversity are still insufficient. This study aims to explore the impacts of expanding survey area on the results of grassland plant diversity survey, and optimal aerial photography parameters and efficiency for UAV survey of grassland plant diversity, so as to analyze the application potential of UAV survey on grassland plant diversity.
    Methods: UAV aerial photography and artificial ground survey were used to investigate plant diversity in the Hulunbuir meadow. By comparing the number of species observed and the survey time under different layout methods of quadrat and different shooting methods, the influence of expanding the survey area on the survey results was analyzed. The best aerial photography parameters and the time efficiency of using UAV to carry out grassland plant diversity survey were analyzed as well.
    Results: (1) In the survey of grassland plant diversity, the number of species increased as the survey area increased within a certain range. Compared with the artificial ground survey of limited quadrats, more species could be observed using UAV in a large area survey. (2) In the survey of plant diversity in a semi-arid meadow grassland, the spatial resolution of UAV RGB image used for species identification should be better than 0.50 mm, and approximately 67.16% of species could be identified at a resolution of 0.45 mm. In terms of observation angle, it was better to shoot in two ways, which could increase 45° or 60° oblique shooting on the basis of 90° vertical shooting. (3) UAV survey could significantly shorten the time spent in species survey, but high-precision intelligent species identification model should be used to improve the survey efficiency.
    Conclusion: By comparing the number of species observed by UAV and traditional artificial ground survey, this study further verifies the feasibility of UAV remote sensing for grassland plant diversity survey, and explores the key parameters of using UAV to obtain visible light images for grassland species survey. The results promote further implementation and prioritization of UAV in grassland monitoring, investigation, and protection.

    Automatic individual tracking method of Amur tiger based on attention mechanism fusion of multiple features
    Qun Xu, Yonghua Xie
    Biodiv Sci. 2024, 32 (3):  23409.  doi:10.17520/biods.2023409
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    Background: Tracking wild animals sheds light on their ecology, behavior, and population dynamics. Developing an automated, effective, and precise target tracking system is crucial for the conservation of wild animals. Monitoring the Amur tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) population requires properly and automatically tracking individual tigers, which is challenging because of their camouflaged and fast movements in complex habitats. Individual Amur tigers are tracked incorrectly in the real world because of factors like similarity interference, occlusion, and illumination variation.
    Methods: In order to accurately track Amur tigers in complex real-world circumstances, we have suggested a Siamese network tracking framework based on attention feature fusion. Through the incorporation of the attention feature fusion into the backbone network ResNet50, we have enhanced the conventional Siamese-based tracking architecture. With the addition of a multi-scale channel attention module, the system was better able to comprehend global contextual information and adjust to the varying environmental conditions and individual states of Amur tigers.
    Results: The suggested approach was compared with five advanced algorithms, SiamFC, SiamRPN++, SiamCAR, SiamBAN and SiamGAT, on the Amur tiger target tracking dataset. The algorithm proposed in this paper achieved a tracking success rate of 72.5% and a precision of 93.9%, outperforming the five existing algorithms. It showed improvements of 4.1% and 2.3% compared to the baseline tracking algorithm. At the same time, the suggested approach performed better in tracking when faced with six distinct tracking problems in the Amur tiger’s complex environment.
    Conclusion: This strategy significantly enhances the success rate and precision of tracking individual Amur tigers. The method in this paper is more suitable for the actual scene under the premise of using computer vision technology to monitor wild animals, and it proves that the tracking method in this paper can provide an effective scheme for automatic and efficient monitoring of Amur tigers in a complex actual scene.

    A review on gut microbial diversity and function of overwintering animals
    Cao Hao, Donghui Wu, Lingzi Mo, Guoliang Xu
    Biodiv Sci. 2024, 32 (3):  23407.  doi:10.17520/biods.2023407
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    Background & Aim: Overwintering is an important stage in the life history and evolution of animals in temperate and cold regions of the world, and successful overwintering is crucial for the reproduction and maintenance of animal populations. Gut microbiota and hosts have co-evolved and formed complex symbiotic relationships that play important roles in animal growth and development, health regulation and adaptation to harsh environments. Overwintering animals undergo not only adaptive changes in morphology, physiology and behavior, but also changes in their gut microbiota, which are essential for host adaptation to low temperatures. In recent years, the work on the gut microbiota of overwintering animals has received increasing attention.
    Review results: (1) We summarized the current progress in studies of the gut microbiota of overwintering animals. The number of publications in this field has increased rapidly in recent years, and gut microbiota of hibernating animals has been studied most intensively. Gut microbial diversity, influencing factors, community assembly, and the mechanism of gut microbiota on overwintering animals are the research hotspots. (2) We analyzed the changes in diversity, composition and functional genes of the gut microbial community in overwintering animals. Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes and Proteobacteria dominate the gut bacterial communities in winter, and their diversity is lower than that in summer. The functional genes of the gut bacterial community in hibernating animals are mainly related to lipid metabolism. (3) We summarized the main factors influencing the gut microbial community of overwintering animals. The gut microbial community is closely related to the gut morphology and physiology, species identification, diet, overwintering strategy, spatio-temporal and climatic changes. (4) We discussed the important functions of the gut microbiota during overwintering. Gut microbiota are involved in nutrition acquisition and energy metabolism, heat production, and influenced host cold tolerance and immunity of the hosts.
    Suggestions & Perspectives: This review can enhance our understanding of the maintenance of gut microbial diversity and its ecological function in the non-growing season, and help to understand the potential impact of gut microbiota and their host interaction mechanisms on the regulation of animal adaptation to environmental changes.

    Conservation and Governance
    Analysis and enlightenment on Global Biodiversity Framework Fund management policy
    Haiou Liu, Leshan Du, Wenhui Liu, Ziyuan Li, Libo Pan, Lei Liu
    Biodiv Sci. 2024, 32 (3):  23334.  doi:10.17520/biods.2023334
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    Background & Aims: As one of the megadiverse countries in the world, China is facing greater biodiversity challenges, for which requires significant financial support. Considering that a single source of domestic funding could place a burden on developing countries, the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework Fund (the GBF Fund), managed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), will mobilize additional financial support for China and other developing countries.
    Progress: This paper reviews the basic situation and management policies of the GEF and the approval processes for different types of GEF projects, compares the similarities and differences between the GEF and GBF Fund in terms of funding sources, and provides advices at three levels. At the international level, the paper proposes to extend the operating period of the framework fund, strengthen the coordination between the GBF Fund and the Kunming Biodiversity Framework Fund. At the government level, the paper proposes to strengthen domestic guidance and publicity, research and determine the priority direction on project application. At the level of application strategy, the paper puts forward suggestions to strengthen the research and judgment of project application direction and fund amount and strengthen communication with key stakeholders.

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