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Forests 2015, 6(3), 650-669; doi:10.3390/f6030650

Effects of Topographic and Soil Factors on Woody Species Assembly in a Chinese Subtropical Evergreen Broadleaved Forest

1
Faculty of Life Science and Technology, Central South University of Forestry and Technology, Changsha 410004, Hunan, China
2
Faculty of Forestry, Central South University of Forestry and Technology, Changsha 410004, Hunan, China
3
Institute of Environment Sciences, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Quebec at Montreal, Montreal, QC H3C-3P8, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: George Perry and Eric J. Jokela
Received: 5 December 2014 / Revised: 15 February 2015 / Accepted: 28 February 2015 / Published: 6 March 2015
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Abstract

Evergreen broadleaved forests in subtropical China contain a complicated structure of diverse species. The impact of topographic and soil factors on the assembly of woody species in the forest has been poorly understood. We used Ripley’s K(t) function to analyze the spatial patterns and associations of dominant species and residual analysis (RDA) to quantify the contribution of topography and soil to species assembly. The 1 ha plot investigated had 4797 stems with a diameter at breast height (dbh) larger than 1 cm that belong to 73 species, 55 genera, and 38 families. All stems of the entire forest and four late successional species exhibited a reversed J shape for dbh distribution, while two early successional species showed a unimodal shape. Aggregation was the major spatial pattern for entire forests and dominant species across vertical layers. Spatial associations between inter- and intra-species were mostly independent. Topographic and soil factors explained 28.1% of species assembly. The forest was close to late succession and showed the characteristics of diverse woody species, high regeneration capacity, and aggregated spatial patterns. Topographic and soil factors affected species assembly, but together they could only explain a small part of total variance. View Full-Text
Keywords: spatial pattern; spatial association; vertical layer; topography; soil nutrient; hilly area in southern China spatial pattern; spatial association; vertical layer; topography; soil nutrient; hilly area in southern China
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Zhao, L.; Xiang, W.; Li, J.; Lei, P.; Deng, X.; Fang, X.; Peng, C. Effects of Topographic and Soil Factors on Woody Species Assembly in a Chinese Subtropical Evergreen Broadleaved Forest. Forests 2015, 6, 650-669.

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