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Forests 2016, 7(1), 19; doi:10.3390/f7010019

Environmental Drivers of Patterns of Plant Diversity Along a Wide Environmental Gradient in Korean Temperate Forests

1
Korea Green Promotion Agency, 121 Dunsanbukro, Seogu, Daejeon 302-831, Korea
2
Division of Forest Ecology, National Institute of Forest Science, 57, Hoegiro, Dongdaemungu, Seoul 130-712, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Dave Verbyla
Received: 11 November 2015 / Revised: 31 December 2015 / Accepted: 6 January 2016 / Published: 12 January 2016
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Abstract

Understanding patterns of biodiversity and their drivers along environmental gradients is one of the central topics in ecology. However, whether diversity patterns along environmental gradients differ among diversity components as well as life forms and what kind of variables control or interact to shape the diversity patterns are poorly known. This study scrutinized the distribution patterns of three plant groups with four diversity indices and evaluated the effects of regional area, topography, topographic heterogeneity, climate, primary productivity, vegetation structure diversity and vegetation type diversity along an extensive elevational gradient on the Baekdudaegan Mountains in South Korea. Different elevational patterns, including hump-shaped, reversed hump-shaped, increasing, multimodal and no relationship, were observed among both the diversity indices and the plant groups. Regional area, habitat heterogeneity and climate were included to explain most of the elevational diversity patterns. In particular, habitat heterogeneity was the most important variable for explaining the patterns of diversity. The results suggest that patterns of elevational diversity may differ not only among plant groups but also among diversity indices and that such patterns are primarily caused by habitat heterogeneity in the Baekdudaegan Mountains because more heterogeneous and diverse habitats can support more coexisting species. View Full-Text
Keywords: Baekdudaegan Mountains; climate; diversity pattern; elevation; habitat heterogeneity; plant group; regional area Baekdudaegan Mountains; climate; diversity pattern; elevation; habitat heterogeneity; plant group; regional area
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

Lee, C.-B.; Chun, J.-H. Environmental Drivers of Patterns of Plant Diversity Along a Wide Environmental Gradient in Korean Temperate Forests. Forests 2016, 7, 19.

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