Both tropical montane evergreen forest (TMEF) and tropical montane dwarf forest (TMDF) are typical tropical cloud forests on Hainan Island. To compare community structure and species diversity between these two forest types, we established eight and ten plots (each with 2,500 m2 in area) in TMEF and TMDF, respectively, in Bawangling National Nature Reserve on Hainan Island, South China. We investigated each individual plant with diameter at breast height (DBH) ≥1 cm including trees, shrubs and lianas, and found that the mean density of saplings (1 cm≤DBH < 5 cm) and small trees (5 cm≤DBH < 10 cm) was lower in TMEF than TMDF, while there were no differences in density of adult trees (DBH≥10 cm) between the two forest types. TMEF had higher mean DBH of small trees and adult trees, but lower mean DBH of saplings than TMDF. Mean height of saplings, small trees and adult trees was higher in TMEF than TMDF. The dominant species differed between these two forest types, but dominant family, dominant genera and overall species compositions were similar, with a Sørensen similarity index value of 0.71. Compared with the power and exponential curves, the logistic curve was the optimal model approximating the species-area relation within the two forest types. The observed species richness values, as well as the values predicted by 1st order Jackknife estimator, 2nd order Jackknife estimator and bootstrap estimator, were higher in TMEF than TMDF. Our results highlight the differences in community structure and species diversity between TMEF and TMDF, which likely resulting from differences in mechanisms maintaining the structure and diversity of these two types of forest communities.