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Table of Content
    Volume 23 Issue 4
    20 July 2015

    The IUCN Green List of Protected Areas (GLPA) is the only global standard of good practice for protected areas. It aims to recognise and promote success in managing some of the most valuable natural areas on the planet. The special feature of this issue introduces GLPA and its main progress as well as opportunities and challenges for protected areas in China. Pictures show the six protected areas from China which have been listed in GLPA in 2014. From upper to bottom in the left column are: Mount Huangshan National Scenic Area, Eastern Dongting Lake National Nature Reserve, and Shaanxi Changqing National Nature Reserve. From upper to bottom in the right column are: Wudalianchi National Scenic Area, Longwanqun National Forest Park, and Sichuan Tangjiahe National Nature Reserve.

    IUCN’s Green List of Protected Areas and its potential application in China
    Dayuan Xue
    Biodiv Sci. 2015, 23 (4):  435-436.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015186
    Abstract ( 1623 )   HTML ( 10 )   PDF (257KB) ( 2991 )   Save
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    Special Feature: On IUCN’s Green List of Protected Areas
    IUCN’s Green List of Protected Areas and forest park management in China
    Chao Yang
    Biodiv Sci. 2015, 23 (4):  440-441.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015194
    Abstract ( 1289 )   HTML ( 10 )   PDF (279KB) ( 2134 )   Save
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    Importance of IUCN Green List in promoting China’s wetland management
    Guangchun Lei
    Biodiv Sci. 2015, 23 (4):  444-445.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015199
    Abstract ( 1573 )   HTML ( 5 )   PDF (317KB) ( 3092 )   Supplementary Material   Save
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    Original Papers: Plant Diversity
    Patterns of plant species diversity along an altitudinal gradient and its effect on above-ground biomass in alpine meadows in Qinghai-Tibet Plateau
    Zhe Liu, Qi Li, Dongdong Chen, Wenting Zhai, Liang Zhao, Shixiao Xu, Xinquan Zhao
    Biodiv Sci. 2015, 23 (4):  451-462.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015043
    Abstract ( 2703 )   HTML ( 52 )   PDF (695KB) ( 4756 )   Save
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    Changes in plant species diversity along an altitudinal gradient and the relationship between biodiversity and productivity are important issues in ecology, which have not been addressed fully. To clarify the patterns of species diversity and above-ground biomass along an altitudinal gradient in alpine meadows, two representative mountains in Qinghai-Tibet Plateau were chosen as study subjects: Laji Mountain (36°21′ N, 101°27′ E) in Guide County, Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and Junmuchang Mountain (34°22′ N, 100°30′ E) in Maqin County, Golog Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. Plant height, coverage, above-ground biomass, and species diversity with altitude change were investigated. We found that the patterns of above-ground biomass and species diversity along an altitudinal gradient in the two mountain transects are consistent. With an increase in altitude, the above-ground biomass decreased linearly; Shannon-Wiener index, Simpson index and species richness present hump-shaped distributions, with the maximum value found in the middle altitudinal gradient, while the Pielou index increased regularly in a straight line with an increase in altitude. Combined with the present data for the alpine meadows in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, we found that species richness shows a hump-shaped curve with the increase in altitude, with the pattern first increasing and then decreased. It may exhibit the universal law of the species distribution in Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The relationship between above-ground biomass and species diversity in the two mountain transects also appeared uniform: above-ground biomass linearly decreased with increased in Shannon-Wiener index, Simpson index and Pielou index, but it was not associated with species richness. Integrating all data from the two mountain transects, we found that the above-ground biomass was not related to Shannon-Wiener and Simpson indices, however it increases linearly with increases in species richness. Based on the research data in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, we found the relationship between above-ground biomass and species richness presented an “S” curve (logistic model).

    The explanation of climatic hypotheses to community species diversity patterns in Inner Mongolia grasslands
    Qingfu Liu, Yang Liu, Xiaoli Sun, Xuefeng Zhang, Sarula Kang, Yong Ding, Qing Zhang, Jianming Niu
    Biodiv Sci. 2015, 23 (4):  463-470.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015011
    Abstract ( 1330 )   HTML ( 12 )   PDF (562KB) ( 2828 )   Save
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    Understanding spatial pattern of species diversity is central to macroecology and biogeography. Based on species diversity and nine different climatic factors of 192 field sites, we explored geographic patterns of species richness and dominant factors in Inner Mongolia grassland, and further determined applicability of different climatic hypotheses in this area. Results indicated the species richness of the Inner Mongolia grassland exhibited significant longitudinal gradients, which increased from west to east. Meanwhile, because of the collinearity of latitude and longitude within the Inner Mongolia grassland, it also exhibited significant latitudinal gradients. Analysis of variance indicated that only 2.7% and 11.4% of the total variance were explained by energy and moisture factors, respectively, while 46.3% was simultaneously explained by the two groups of factors, 39.6% was explained by other undetermined factors. These results indicate that energy and moisture play a decisive role in the distribution patterns of species richness and support the water-energy dynamic hypothesis. We find the water-energy dynamic hypothesis is best suited for the Inner Mongolia grassland.

    Spatial distribution of plant diversity and functional groups in the Liaohe estuary
    Youzhi Li, Lijuan Cui, Xu Pan, Yu Ning, Wei Li, Xiaoming Kang, Kai Li, Baodi Sun, Jingjing Yu
    Biodiv Sci. 2015, 23 (4):  471-478.  doi:10.17520/biods.2014251
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    Liaohe estuary is a typical coastal wetland in Northeast China. Over the past decades, vegetation in this area suffered great change due to human disturbance. The spatial distribution of plant diversity and functional groups was examined in this coastal wetland. Results showed that species richness and Shannon-Wiener index were higher in supratidal zones than in intertidal zones. Compared to supratidal zones, intertidal zones had a higher ratio of halophytes and hygrophytes, but a lower ratio of neutral plants, glycophytes, mesophytes, and xerophytes. Species richness, Shannon-Wiener index, and the ratio of neutral plants, glycophytes, mesophytes, and xerophytes increased with the increasing distances from the coastline, while halophytes and hygrophytes decreased. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) indicated that plant communities mainly composed of neutral plants and glycophytes in supratidal zones, such as Phragmites australis, Cirsium setosum and Lagedium sibiricum, and halophytes mainly distributed in intertidal zones, such as Suaeda salsa, Scirpus planiculmis and Typha angustifolia. Salinity and water table appear to be the key factors in determining plant diversity and functional groups in the Liaohe estuary.

    Community characteristics of a mid-subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest plot in the Wuyi Mountains, Fujian Province, southeastern China
    Hui Ding, Yanming Fang, Qing Yang, Xiao Chen, Fayin Yuan, Hui Xu, Liheng He, Jing Yan, Tingting Chen, Chaojian Yu, Haigen Xu
    Biodiv Sci. 2015, 23 (4):  479-492.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015021
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    Wuyi Mountains preserve the primary forest ecosystem characteristic of the mid-subtropics. We established a large-scale plots in this area according to standard international protocols (Center for Tropical Forest Science, CTFS). Community characteristics such as flora composition, floristic characteristics, DBH structure and spatial distribution patterns in a 9.6 ha plot were analyzed. The results showed that the vascular plants in the plot belonged to 68 families, 135 genera, 232 species. Among these plants, trees (DBH ≥ 1 cm) belonged to 44 families, 86 genera, 171 species. For plants with tropical elements, family and genera accounted for 68.58% and 58.83% of total, respectively, which indicates a tropical feature of the ecosystem. There were many rare and endangered species, including four State Priority Protected Wild Plant Species at Level II, two threatened species (VU) of Red List of China’s Biodiversity, one species of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES ) (Appendix II) and 72 endemic species to China. Rare species (N = 29, less than 1 individuals/ha) accounted for 16.96%. Fagaceae and Theaceae, with a total importance values of greater than 40%, were most dominant. Castanopsis carlesii, C. fordii, C. eyrei and Engelhardtia fenzlii had the largest importance values but no species significantly dominated the community. Small sized trees dominated the plot, with a mean DBH of 5.10 cm and the DBH-class distribution presented an inverse “J” shape. The emergent layer was divided into two sub-layers with C. carlesii, C. fordii, C. eyrei dominating the first sub-layer. Castanopsis carlesii and C. fordii had an even distribution, at the same time, C. eyrei, E. fenzlii, Syzygium buxifolium and Schima superba had a clustered distribution.

    An assessment of the extinction risk of Calanthe from China based on specimens and field observations
    Weichang Huang, Xiangyu Zhou, Ziyi Ni, Li Shao
    Biodiv Sci. 2015, 23 (4):  493-498.  doi:10.17520/biods.2013166
    Abstract ( 1461 )   HTML ( 6 )   PDF (481KB) ( 3120 )   Save
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    The orchid family is considered to be one of the flagship taxa of biodiversity conservation. It is very important to accurately assess the extinction risk of each species for the effective conservation. However, the assessment itself presents a challenge to conservation biology due to the biological features of orchids. Here we try to evaluate the accuracy of the assessment of the extinction risk of Calanthe from China based on both herbarium specimens and field observations. Our results indicate that static information regarding the geographic range and populations of Calanthe can be explored accurately from herbarium specimens, while information based on fieldwork is more accurate for assessing the living condition of each species but less effective for locating species and populations, especially very narrowly distributed species. As a result, two endemic species of Calanthe from China were assessed as Extinct in the Wild (EW), and 16 species identified as Critically Endangered (CR). By contrast, the dimensions of Calanthe from China threatened outnumber the existing research study.

    Original Papers: Animal Diversity
    Species diversity of fish and its conservation in the mainstream of the lower reaches of Wu River
    Qiong Xiao, Zhi Yang, Huiyuan Tang, Pengxiang Duan, Xiaoqing Wang, Tiaoyi Xiao, Xiaoyan Liu
    Biodiv Sci. 2015, 23 (4):  499-506.  doi:10.17520/biods.2014270
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    To understand the status of fish species diversity in the lower reaches of Wu River and to assess the impacts of hydropower station development on fish species diversity, two surveys were carried out along the Yanhe to Baima section in the mainstream of the lower reaches of Wu River from 2006 to 2008 (the time period before the sluice of Yinpan and Pengshui hydropower station) and from 2011 to 2013 (the time period after the sluice of Yinpan and Pengshui hydropower station) respectively by using fishery catch surveys. One hundred and five fish species were found from the two surveys, of which 100 fish species were sampled during 2006 and 2008, while only 62 fish species were found during 2011 and 2013. When the two datasets were compared, we found that the number proportion of eurytopic fish species, limnophilic fish species and rheophilic fish species in the catches of 2011-2013 decreased by 10.38%, 0.98% and 9.62%, respectively. Species diversity analysis indicated that the values of Margalef richness index (R) and Shannon-Wiener diversity index (H) during 2011 and 2013 were lower than those found during 2006 and 2008. Fishery catch structures indicated that the weight proportions of some species, such as Mystus macropterus, Spinibarbus sinensis, and Tor (Folifer) brevifilis, decreased from over 5% in the fishery catches of 2006-2008 to less than 2% in 2011-2013, but that the weight proportions of other species, such as Hemiculter leucisculus, Ctenopharyngodon idellus, and Pelteobagrus fulvidraco, had the greatest increase in the catches of 2011-2013 when compared with that of 2006-2008. Abundance biomass comparison showed that fish community structure of the mainstream of the lower reaches of the Wu River showed a moderately disturbed pattern during 2006 and 2008, but a seriously disturbed pattern during 2011 and 2013. To protect fish biodiversity of the lower reaches of Wu River, multiple protection measures, including habitat restoration and controls on overfishing must be applied by government departments.

    Original Papers: Protected Area
    Analysis and prediction of development in global terrestrial protected areas between 1950 and 2013
    Bian Fan, Keming Ma
    Biodiv Sci. 2015, 23 (4):  507-518.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015046
    Abstract ( 1225 )   HTML ( 11 )   PDF (1058KB) ( 3458 )   Supplementary Material   Save
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    Protected areas (PAs) have become a key global effort to protect biodiversity. Understanding their status and growth trends is thus significant for planning and development of PAs. In considering the drawbacks of previous research (time and spatial scale and comparison of results), our study focused on the description and prediction of growth in terrestrial PAs from 1950 to 2013 within global, continental, regional and national scales, by using the World Database of Protected Areas ( The results showed that at the global scale, terrestrial PAs grew quickly especially after 1990s. At the continental and regional scales, three different trends appear. In America and Oceania, terrestrial PAs grew quickly, similar to trends found at the global scale. In Asia and Europe, peak growth occurred in 1980s and 1990s. In Africa, development peaked in the 1970s and 2000s. A non-equilibrium status existed among the countries with respect to development of PAs, the PAs coverage in nearly half of the countries is less than 10%, but this gap decreased over time. Most countries with weak growth uniformity of PAs located in Africa. At global scale, the Target 11 of the Aichi Biodiversity Target might not be reached in 2020, but 22 countries including China would achieve this goal in time. This study provides a reference for planning and development of future PAs.

    Research Bulletin
    Species composition and stability of nekton community structure in Sandu Bay, Fujian Province
    Puqing Song, Longshan Lin, Yuan Li, Zhihui Zhong, Ran Zhang
    Biodiv Sci. 2015, 23 (4):  519-526.  doi:10.17520/biods.2014223
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    In order to analyze the species composition and evaluate the stability of nekton community structure in Sandu Bay of Fujian Province, species diversity, an Abundance Biomass Comparison (ABC) curve and taxonomic diversity were described based on a net fishing survey conducted in Sandu Bay from October 2012 to September 2013. A total of 195 species belonging to 125 genera, 64 families and 17 orders were recorded including 143 fish species, 47 crustacean species and 5 cephalopod species. Larimichthys crocea was the most dominant species identified in all four surveys and most were escaped groups from fish farms. The other dominant species included Johnius belengerii, Argyrosomus argentatus, gobies, and several crustacean species, which were characteristized by small body size, short breeding period and seasonal or annual drastic fluctuations in biomass. The average Shannon-Wiener diversity index in Sandu Bay was 2.61, and higher in September and October than in January and May. ABC curve analysis showed that the community structure had obvious seasonal changes and the impacting factors may include internal factors and external factors such as the supplement of breeding groups, individual growth, fishery production, and summer fishing moratoriums. This study revealed that the biomass proportion of the large yellow croaker has a very significant negative correlation with Shannon-Wiener diversity index (P < 0.01, R = -0.890) and a significant negative correlation with species number (P < 0.05, R = -0.563). Combined with survey data from recent years, there were 224 fish species in Sandu Bay; based on this data, the average taxonomic distinctness (△+) and the variation in taxonomic distinctness (∧+) were tested. The result showed that the value of △+ in Sandu Bay was 59.5 and the value of ∧+ was 260.8. Compared with other coastal waters in China, the average taxonomic range in Sandu Bay was relatively narrow and the taxonomic status was extremely uneven, indicating the anti-interference ability of the fish community in Sandu Bay was poor.

    Indicators and implementing methods of wetland biodiversity monitoring: taking Great Lakes coastal wetlands as an example
    Yanping Wu, Wenjing Yang*
    Biodiv Sci. 2015, 23 (4):  527-535.  doi:10.17520/biods.2014152
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    Lake wetlands are home to a wide variety of wildlife, including numerous species that are highly dependent on habitat and a big portion of them are classified as protected by law. However, lake wetlands are among the most functionally degraded ecosystems. Almost 40% of Chinese lake wetlands are threatened by various factors, including land development, input of pollutants, and hydrologic alterations. A monitoring network is essential for tracking changes in wetland biodiversity. Many developed countries have established regional or even national scale wetland monitoring systems, whereas China is still in the early stages of development. In this paper, we introduce indicators and implementing methods for coastal wetland biodiversity monitoring in the Great Lakes. Five biological groups (i.e. plants, macroinvertebrates, fishes, amphibians and birds) and water were sampled annually from c. 1,500 monitoring sites. Indices of biotic integrity (IBIs) were developed based on biological community data to assess the current status of and temporal trends in wetland health conditions. This project provides the scientific basis for biodiversity conservation and wetland management policy, and represents a good example for formulating a wetland biodiversity monitoring scheme in China.

    Hot spots and proposed actions of negotiations of the Nagoya Protocol after it functions
    Fuwei Zhao, Dayuan Xue, Jianyong Wu
    Biodiv Sci. 2015, 23 (4):  536-542.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015042
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    The first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity served as the meeting of the parties of the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and Equitable Sharing of the Benefits Arising from Their Utilization (COP-MOP1) was held at Pyeongchang city, Republic of Korea, after it had been legally functioned in October 12, 2014. The draft decision on the compliance mechanism of the Protocol, access and benefit-sharing clearing-house, resource mobilization and financial mechanism, capacity-building and awareness raising, and the need for and modalities of the global multilateral benefit-sharing mechanism, were discussed by the parties and non-parties governments, non-governmental organizations and representatives of indigenous and local communities, during this meeting. Parties finally agreed by consensus to: set up Protocol compliance mechanisms; adopt the modalities of operation of the access and benefit-sharing clearing-house; reach financial arrangement for implementation of the Protocol; carry out the strategy framework for capacity-building and awareness raising; and trigger the development process of a global multilateral benefit-sharing mechanism. Some significant impacts of the Protocol are emerging on the legislative, administrative and policy measures related to the protection, utilization and benefit-sharing of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge in China. It is necessary for China to ratify the Protocol and become a member of its parties. China should focus more attention on improving domestic laws and regulations relevant to genetic resources as soon as possible, drawing up a national action plan for access to and benefit-sharing of genetic resources, establish a fund of access and benefit sharing, and carry out several studies on the follow-up negotiation of the Protocol.

    Interpretation of the work programme of Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services for the period 2014-2018
    Yu Tian, Junsheng Li, Cunzi Lan, Xiushan Li
    Biodiv Sci. 2015, 23 (4):  543-549.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015028
    Abstract ( 2002 )   HTML ( 8 )   PDF (449KB) ( 2637 )   Save
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    Promoted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) was established as the first communication platform between scientists and decision makers in the field of biodiversity conservation for improving global biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services. As the first work programme of IPBES, the programme for the period 2014-2018 reached a consensus on the platform at the 2nd Plenary Session (held December 2013 in Antalya, Turkey). In this paper, we introduce the framework and its 4 objectives, including assessments of biodiversity and ecosystem services around the world using a multiple-scale method, series thematic and methods assessments, capacity building, and identification of deliverables. We also present a detailed description of the elements, deliverables and time arrangements of the work programme’s objectives according to the material discussed during the platform’s 3rd Plenary Session (held January 2015 in Bonn, Germany). In 2014 (one year into the program), the thematic assessment of pollination and food production and the policy support tools for scenario analysis were launched and the scope of synthesis assessment of regions and thematic assessment of land degradation and restoration were defined. As the first intergovernmental, interdisciplinary, cross-domain, and multi-convention platform in the field of biodiversity, IPBES will become an international dialogue and platform in the field of biodiversity, and also a platform for national benefit maximization. It requires the standardization and integration of China's relevant knowledge and information system. To work with the programme, it is suggested China extensively participate in the implementation to strengthen capacity, including enhancing international communicational and internal cooperation, improving basic discipline construction, and encouraging experts and public participation.

    Software introduction
    Using NCBIminer to search and download nucleotide sequences from GenBank
    Xiaoting Xu, Zhiheng Wang, Dimitar Dimitrov, Carsten Rahbek
    Biodiv Sci. 2015, 23 (4):  550-555.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015120
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    GenBank is the leading public genetic resources database and currently contains over 1012 base pairs from about 300,000 formally described species. It offers valuable resources for studies on the evolution of species, genes, and genomes. However, difficulties in GenBank data mining hinder the potential wide application of this tool for big data collection. To address this issue, we introduce new bioinformatics software —NCBIminer. NCBIminer is a freely available, cross-platform, and user-friendly software for mining nucleotide sequences from GenBank. The main purpose of NCBIminer is to download sequences for user required genes and taxonomic groups based on gene names, types, and one or several reference sequences. The program algorithms have been described elsewhere and here, we focus on introducing the details in the usage of the program including how to install, run, and set parameters.

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