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Table of Content
    Volume 21 Issue 2
    20 March 2013

    The Reed Parrotbill (Paradoxornis heudei), a bird species endemic to East Asia, is distributed only in northeastern and eastern China, Mongolia and southeast Siberia. It is a reed-habitat specialist. The population size of this species is thought to be declining because of ongoing habitat loss and degradation in recent years, and it has been listed as Near Threatened (NT) in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Jiang et al. (for details see pages 214–223 in this issue) studied the effects of reclamation on bird species diversity in southern Hangzhou Bay and the Qiantang River estuary. (Photographed by Pengyun Shan)

    Controlling illegal wildlife trade and protecting global biodiversity
    Zhigang Jiang
    Biodiv Sci. 2013, 21 (2):  139-140.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1003.2013.02072
    Abstract ( 2038 )   PDF (159KB) ( 2833 )   Save
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    Original Papers
    Elevational pattern of species richness in the Three Gorges region of the Yangtze River: effect of climate, geometric constraints, area and topographical heterogeneity
    Qiaoyan Li, Xiangping Wang
    Biodiv Sci. 2013, 21 (2):  141-152.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1003.2013.12183
    Abstract ( 2906 )   PDF (489KB) ( 3484 )   Save
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    In this paper, we explore altitudinal richness of vascular plant species in the Three Gorges region of the Yangtze River and test several hypotheses concerning geographic diversity patterns. Multivariate regression and variation partitioning analyses were used to examine the relative effects of area, climate, geometric constraints and topographical heterogeneity on altitudinal richness patterns, and also the differences among ecological groups (including species with different range sizes, growth forms and biogeographic affinities). Our results show that, water–energy dynamics have the strongest total effect (>93%) in explaining richness patterns for various species groups. However, for many species groups the effects of water–energy dynamics were largely shared with geometric constraints, topographical heterogeneity or area. Geometric constraints had strong effects on species with large ranges, but negligible effects on small-ranged species. Area showed relative strong correlation with species richness, but was excluded from multivariate models for most species groups, when other potential mechanisms were considered simultaneously. On the contrary, topographic heterogeneity showed weak correlation with richness patterns but was included in most of the final multivariate models. We concluded that water–energy dynamics were most important in explaining altitudinal richness patterns within the study region, while geometric constraints were important for species with large ranges. Topographic heterogeneity showed a weak but essential role in shaping altitudinal richness gradients, while the role of area on richness patterns requires further investigation because of the collinear relationships between area, geometric constraints and climatic gradients.

    A functional analysis of resistance of plant communities to disturbance: a case study of Beijing nature reserves
    Guohong Wang, Xiaoping Wang, Weikang Zhang, He Li, Lianhai Du, Jigui Wu
    Biodiv Sci. 2013, 21 (2):  153-162.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1003.2013.10192
    Abstract ( 2548 )   PDF (308KB) ( 2190 )   Supplementary Material   Save
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    Plant communities in Beijing nature reserves are undergoing unprecedented disturbance due to city expansion. To examine the resistance of plant communities to disturbance is thus of both theoretical and practical significance. We surveyed 22 plant community plots in Labagoumen and Songshan nature reserves. A total of 213 plant species were recorded, and 33 plant functional traits were measured for each species. The functional implications of each trait to disturbance, such as potential for restoration, resistance to fire, grazing and exotic invasion, were quantified according to published information. We calculated a functional index for each species, growth form and plant association, respectively. Regression analysis was used to detect the relationship between species richness and functional index at the community level. We found that the plant restoration index ranged between 4.36 and 10.15, and was significantly higher for herbs than for woody plants, while index of resistance to disturbance by grazing ranged between 10.27 and 23.15, and was significantly higher for woody plants than for herbs. Resistance to fire ranged between 9.01 and 22.15, with trees showing greatest resistance followed, in turn, by shrubs and herbs, while resistance to exotic invasion ranged from 4.41 to10.54, and was again highest for trees. At the community level, plant associations with Populus davidiana as the dominant species were at the top position of a decreasing sequence as determined by functional index of each association. Species richness was not correlated with any functional index at the layer of trees and herbs, but was significantly and positively correlated with resistance index to fire, grazing and exotic invasion within the shrub layer. The information obtained from our research will be important to the future vegetation restoration and management of Beijing nature reserves. Although the functional index of a community is determined to a large extent by the dynamics of dominant species, species richness is fundamental to ecosystem stability. Species redundancy may be detectable in a specific community layer or under a given type of disturbance, but might not be so in all situations.

    Rare and endangered plants in Mount Jinggangshan region
    Lei Wang, Shi Shi, Wenbo Liao, Chunquan Chen, Zhen Li
    Biodiv Sci. 2013, 21 (2):  163-169.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1003.2013.07210
    Abstract ( 3137 )   PDF (271KB) ( 2844 )   Supplementary Material   Save
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    The occurrence of rare, endangered, and protected plant species is of importance in assessing the status of local biodiversity and the environment as well as developing strategies for nature conservation and management. The abundance and distribution of rare and endangered plants in the Mount Jinggangshan region were investigated as well as the community characteristics of important woody species. The results demonstrate that rare and endangered species have high conservation value and significant importance in systematics and biogeography. This area contains two endangered bryophyte species and 199 species of vascular plants. Among them, 50 species are included in the IUCN Red List of Threatened species, 160 species in the China Species Red List, 49 species in the List of Wild Plants Under State Protection (First Batch), and 90 species in the Appendices of CITES. The variety and abundance of rare and endangered species in this area are equivalent to those for Mount Emei and higher than those for Mount Wuyi and Mount Taibai. Many perfectly preserved communities, covering a large area, exist in the Mount Jinggangshan vicinity, and are dominated by rare and endangered species, such as Abies beshanzuensis var. ziyuanensis, Corylus chinensis, Pseudotaxus chienii, Taxus wallichiana var. mairei, Fokienia hodginsii, Amentotaxus argotaenia, Phoebe bournei, Pieris japonica, Rhododendron jinggangshanicum, etc. The communities where some important rare and endangered plants occur are described in detail and suggestions are made for their protection.

    Comparison of bryophyte diversity in West Tianmu Mountain from 1977 to 2011
    Daihua Wang, Youfang Wang, Qin Zuo, Min Li, Qianqian Wei, Xiaoqin Li, Mingshui Zhao
    Biodiv Sci. 2013, 21 (2):  170-176.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1003.2013.07193
    Abstract ( 2194 )   PDF (224KB) ( 2650 )   Supplementary Material   Save
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    Bryophyte diversity plays an important role in forest ecosystems and is important in conservation. Based on two surveys of the bryophyte flora in West Tianmu Mountain, Zhejiang Province, China, conducted between 1977 and 1980, and 2010 and 2011, respectively, an analysis was made of changes in bryophte diversity from 1977 to 2011. We found that: (1) in the past three decades, the number of species, genera and families of bryophytes, especially of liverworts, has tended to decline; (2) Brachytheciaceae, Dicranaceae, Hypanceae and Pottiaceae remain as the dominant families; (3) the stability of families is higher than that of genera and species; and (4) the greatest changes have occurred in the buffer zone, where the number of species new to the nature reserve is the highest. Most bryophytes are distributed in the area around the entrance to the Old Openning Temple in the core zone. This area shows the highest Sørensen similarity and proportion of new liverwort species. In contrast, from the Old Openning Temple to Xianren Peak in the core zone, only a few species occur and the community exhibits the lowest Sørensen similarity. We suggest that the core zone should be regarded as a key area for bryophyte protection in the region.

    Geographical distribution patterns of Macromitrium and Orthotrichum in China and their relationship with climatic factors
    Yahong Ma, Dandan Li, Jing Yu, Shuiliang Guo
    Biodiv Sci. 2013, 21 (2):  177-184.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1003.2013.08102
    Abstract ( 2576 )   PDF (578KB) ( 2636 )   Supplementary Material   Save
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    A maximum entropy algorithm modelling program (MaxEnt 3.3.2) and a GIS software system (ArcGIS9.3) were used to study and model the distribution of 131 occurrences of Macromitrium and 66 occurrences of Orthotrichum in China in relation to 19 bioclimatic variables and percent tree cover. The information obtained can help predict the potential distribution range of these species in China, and also provide an understanding of factors influencing their current geographical distribution patterns so as to achieve better conservation of species diversity in the future. The species occurrence data were obtained from field work, relevant literature and herbarium specimens examined. Based on the integrated habitat suitability indices calculated, results show that Macromitrium have higher habitat suitability in the southeast and some southern provinces of China, i.e., in Zhejiang, Taiwan, Hainan, Fujian, Chongqing, and lower distribution probability in northwest, northeast and some northern provinces. Likewise, Orthotrichum has higher habitat suitability in Yunnan, Beijing, Liaoning, Jilin, Guizhou, Shanxi, Sichuan and Hebei, and lower distributional probability in the southwest. The distribution probability of Macromitrium increases with increased annual precipitation, precipitation in the wettest month, and in both the coldest and wettest quarter of the year. The distribution probability of Orthotrichum increases rapidly with increasing annual precipitation upto 200 mm, and then decreases when annual precipitation exceeds 200 mm. The distribution probability of Orthotrichum reaches its highest peak when the mean temperature of the warmest quarter is between 15 and 20℃. The relationship between species number (Y) of Macromitrium and annual rainfall (X1) is described by the equation Y = –0.0369+0.0003X1 (r = 0.5347, P<0.001, n = 131), and with the annual temperature (X2) by Y = 0.0831e0.001X2 (r = 0.5525, P<0.001, n = 131). The relationship between species number (Y) of Orthotrichum and annual rainfall (X1) equates to Y = 1.0008–0.1184ln X1 (r = 0.4199, P<0.001, n = 66), and with annual temperature (X2) to Y = 1/(0.1309X2+3.4581) (r = 0.2524, P<0.01, n = 66). Based on the data presented above and using the GIS software system (ArcGIS9.3), the distribution maps of predicted species number of Macromitrium and Orthotrichum in China in relation to annual temperature and rainfall are shown. The southeast, south and central regions of China, as well as southeastern areas of Yunnan and Xizang would have more Macromitrium species, and the northwest region, Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, Inner Mongolia and Heilongjiang would have more Orthotrichum species.

    Morphological variation of non-glandular hairs in cultivated Epimedium sagittatum (Berberidaceae) populations and implications for taxonomy
    Yanqin Xu, Wanzhen Cai, Shengfu Hu, Xiaohu Huang, Fei Ge, Ying Wang
    Biodiv Sci. 2013, 21 (2):  185-196.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1003.2013.12208
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    We investigated the morphological variations of non-glandular hairs across 16 cultivated Epimedium sagittatum (Berberidaceae) populations using digital photomicrography. The main features examined included the total numbers of cells, the full-length and ratio of the first cell, the angle and connection pattern between the first and adjacent cells, the presence of elongated cell(s), and the shape, diameter and cell wall thickness of the first cell. Of these, the shape of the first cell was the most important variable and was associated with such characters as the full length, the presence of elongated cell(s), the ratio of the first cell, and the diameter and cell wall thickness of the first cell. Morphological diversity among populations was significant with two main groups identified, namely as sword-shaped group and a fusiform group. However, variations of the main characters was continuous among individuals and populations, suggesting that E. sagittatum was possibly a polytypic species. Adaptive divergence of key traits between populations caused by natural selection was also possible. The genetic basis of variation was evidenced by morphological differences maintained among populations cultivated in a common garden. Phenotypic divergence between ecologically separated populations could be the result of local adaptation.

    DNA barcoding in surveys of small mammal community: a case study in Lianhuashan, Gansu Province, China
    Kai He, Wenzhi Wang, Quan Li, Peipeng Luo, Yuehua Sun, Xuelong Jiang
    Biodiv Sci. 2013, 21 (2):  197-205.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1003.2013.09160
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    To evaluate the efficiency of DNA barcoding for identifying small mammals, and to enhance current understanding of mammalian diversity in the Lianhuashan Mountains, Gansu, China, standard morphological and DNA barcoding approaches were used to identify 77 small mammal specimens sampled from the Lianhuashan National Nature Reserve, Gansu. Thirteen species identified were assigned to seven families in three orders, among which seven species (Sorex bedfordiae, S. thibetanus, Scapanulus oweni, Apodemus agrarius, Niviventer confucianus, Eospalax smithi and Ochotona curzoniae) are new records for the Lianhuashan Mountains. Apodemus agrarius collected at 2,800 m above sea level is the highest altitude recorded for this species. We compared the success rate and accuracy of morphological and DNA barcoding approaches for identification. We found that morphological diagnosis requires well-preserved specimens and expert taxonomists, while success rate and accuracy of barcoding-based identification was limited by insufficient sequences in the genetic database. We suggest that morphology should still be the foundation and principal approach used for small mammal identification. Currently, DNA barcoding might be used as a complement for checking and correcting morphological mis-diagnosis.

    Effect of leaf litter quantity and type on forest soil fauna and biological quality
    Zhizhong Yuan, Yang Cui, Shaokui Yan
    Biodiv Sci. 2013, 21 (2):  206-213.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1003.2013.08002
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    It is important to assess forest litter management. Here we examined the effects of leaf litter addition on the soil faunal community in Huitong subtropical forest region in Hunan Province, China. The microcosm
    experiment involving leaf-litter manipulation using a block and nested experimental design, respectively, was established in May, 2011. In the block design, the effects of litter quantity and its control were examined, while in the nested design a comparison was made of litter quality by adding broad-leaved litter or needle litter to soils. In July, 2012, we measured the abundance, diversity, and community composition of soil fauna across these treatments. Significant differences in abundance of springtails were found due to litter addition and of Diptera larvae due to litter type treatment. However, the diversity, community composition and abundance of other taxa did not vary significantly across treatments. We also calculated soil biological quality based on soil fauna data. Its value increased significantly by 32.45% due to litter addition, but was unaffected by litter type based on nested ANOVA. The results indicate that litter quantity plays an more important role than litter type in determining soil quality in the earlier stages of soil evolution in the study region. Because soil biological quality based on soil fauna was more sensitive than abundance and diversity of soil fauna, we suggest it is used as an indicator for evaluating the effectiveness of forest litter management.

    Diversity of bird communities in southern Hangzhou Bay and the Qiantang River estuary and their responses to reclamation of intertidal mudflats
    Keyi Jiang, Ming Wu, Xuexin Shao, Yong Lü
    Biodiv Sci. 2013, 21 (2):  214-223.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1003.2013.10213
    Abstract ( 2970 )   PDF (544KB) ( 3410 )   Supplementary Material   Save
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    Bird communities were surveyed in southern Hangzhou Bay and the Qiantang River estuary from November 2008 to September 2011. A total of 220 bird species belonging to 16 orders and 52 families were recorded, of which, 173 (78.6%) were migrants and 24 were listed as state key protected wildlife grade I or II. The composition and diversity of bird communities in eight habitat types were compared using the G-F index and the Jaccard index. Ninety-five species (43.2%) were observed in the ponds located in Cixi Wetland Centre with common reed (Phragmites australis) marshes, 93 species (42.3%) in the coastal woodland, and 78 species (35.5%) in intertidal mudflats and coastal reservoirs. About 82.5% of the Charadriiformes species were recorded in intertidal mudflats; 69.2% of the Anatidae species in coastal reservoirs, and 73.4% of the Passeriformes species in the coastal woodland which provides the breeding habitat for the Ardeidae birds. Compared with intertidal mudflats, the highest value of the Jaccard index was obtained for bird communities in the newly reclaimed but undeveloped areas (0.56), followed by coastal reservoirs (0.34) and ponds located in Cixi Wetland Centre with common reed marshes (0.30). For the whole bird community, the highest value of G-F index was obtained in coastal reservoirs and coastal woodland, whereas the lowest value was recorded in the intertidal mudflats. However, newly reclaimed but undeveloped sites had the highest value of G-F index for the waterbird community, followed by coastal reservoirs and intertidal mudflats. Our results indicate that suitable habitat availability and human disturbance are the main factors influencing the spatial distribution of bird communities in the Hangzhou Bay and the Qiantang River estuary. The most serious human disturbance in this region was found to be coastal reclamation. Thus, diversity of local avian communities in the Hangzhou Bay and the Qiantang River estuary could increase if moderate-intensity reclamation and reasonable land use patterns were practiced. Moderate-intensity reclamation is the mode that maintains an intertidal wetland containing a sufficient width of mudflat and upper intertidal zone as well as other important habitat variables for shorebirds and other birds. Local governments should take action to protect the natural wetlands while using them reasonably and efficiently. It is necessary to maintain several main high-tide roosting sites with sufficient areas for shorebirds and other waterbirds. Some appropriate management measures such as controlling water level in newly reclaimed but undeveloped areas should be carried out to increase the availability of suitable habitat for waterbirds. A variety of artificial wetlands should also be constructed to provide potential habitats for waterbirds and other birds after large scale coastal reclamation.

    Species diversity and conservation of orchids in Nanling National Nature Reserve, Guangdong
    Huaizhen Tian, Lin Chen, Fuwu Xing
    Biodiv Sci. 2013, 21 (2):  224-231.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1003.2013.08005
    Abstract ( 2701 )   PDF (254KB) ( 3422 )   Supplementary Material   Save
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    All known wild species of Orchidaceae are listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). However, species diversity of orchids in Nanling National Nature Reserve, China, is not well known. Based on field work, inspection of herbarium specimens, and previous records, 121 species in 49 genera of Orchidaceae are listed for the reserve. Of these, 75 species are terrestrial, 40 are epiphytic and 6 are saprophytic. Species fall mainly within genera such as Bulbophyllum (10 species), Calanthe (10 species), Goodyera (10 species), Liparis (8 species), Habenaria (7 species) and Cymbidum (6 species). A few species are widespread showing great abundance in the reserve, but most are rather rare having narrow distributions. Tropical type genera tend to dominate, although temperate orchids are more common at the species level. This indicates that the orchid flora is rather complex, being a mix of tropic Asian types and East Asian types, particularly of Sino Japan kind. Thus the orchid flora of Nanling N. N. R has an obvious subtropical character, with affinities to that of Taiwan. We appeal for reasonable plan on establishing power stations and related rule of law should be found to control the illegal trade of the wild orchids in Nanling N. N. R.

    Background, progress and prospect of traditional knowledge under the Convention on Biological Diversity
    Fuwei Zhao, Jianyong Wu, Dayuan Xue
    Biodiv Sci. 2013, 21 (2):  232-237.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1003.2013.06215
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    Due to its scientific value, economic potential, and social background basis, traditional knowledge (TK) is valued of great importance under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and by other international fora. The Convention has made enormous efforts for the protection of TK relevant to biodiversity. For instance, an ad hoc working group on Article 8(j) and related provisions was established; programmes of work and action plans on the implementation of Article 8(j) and related provisions were developed and implemented; the negotiation of sui generis system of TK was promoted; and several voluntary guidelines plus the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from Their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity were adopted. According to decisions from the 10th and 11th meetings of the Conference of Parties (COP) to the CBD, customary sustainable use, sui generis systems and repatriation of traditional knowledge are recognized as the most crucial issues for further negotiation and implementation of TK. Sub-national authorities which are in charge of biodiversity and intellectual property rights should be more cooperative for integration of our national position about TK issues within different international laws. More importantly, customary sustainable use, sui generis systems and in situ or living protection of TK require further research.

    REDD+ activities and their potential impacts on biodiversity conservation
    Ming Xue, Lidan An, Shuhong Wu, Jiliang Xu
    Biodiv Sci. 2013, 21 (2):  238-244.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1003.2013.07166
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    Based on the regulations related to REDD+ eligible activities under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate (UNFCCC) and the requirements on biodiversity safeguards under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), we analyzed the possible positive and negative impacts on biodiversity of primary types of REDD+ activities. These included reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and enhancing carbon stocks through conservation and sustainable management of forests and afforestration. Based on our findings, we recommend approaches to ensure biodiversity benefits from REDD+ activities. Our results indicate that impacts on biodiversity in relation to REDD+ will depend on the scope, location and type of REDD+ activities, as well as on the approaches used to address biodiversity safeguard. The positive effects of REDD+ activities on biodiversity should be taken into account when REDD+ activities are developed, while reasonable policies and measurements should be established and employed when they are carried out. In particular, negotiations and close collaboration should occur between the national government and stakeholders, e.g. the local communities. We believe there will be positive impacts on biodiversity from the following REDD+ activities in China. If China plans to design and prepare REDD+ activities in the future, it is recommended that the goals for biodiversity conservation, institutional responsibilities for REDD+ activities, stakeholders, implementation and monitoring should be taken into account at the time when the national REDD+ scheme, forestry policies and measurements, institutional arrangement and monitoring system are constructed.

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