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Forests 2016, 7(10), 222; doi:10.3390/f7100222

Effects of Topographical and Edaphic Factors on Tree Community Structure and Diversity of Subtropical Mountain Forests in the Lower Lancang River Basin

1
Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
2
College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Southwest Forestry University, Kunming 650224, China
3
Beijing Municipal Research Institute of Environmental Protection, Beijing 100037, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Timothy A. Martin
Received: 29 June 2016 / Revised: 30 August 2016 / Accepted: 21 September 2016 / Published: 1 October 2016
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Abstract

We investigated community structure and tree species diversity of six subtropical mountain forests in relation to 11 topographical and edaphic factors in Lower Lancang River Basin, Yunnan Province, China, based on a census of all trees with diameter at breast height ≥5 cm in 45 0.06-ha plots. The forests were as follows: a river valley monsoon forest, semi-humid evergreen broad-leaved forest, monsoon evergreen broad-leaved forest, mid-mountain humid evergreen broad-leaved forest, summit mossy dwarf forest, and warm needle-leaved forest. Owing to the variation in microenvironment, forest structure (tree density, mean height, mean diameter at breast height, mean basal area at breast height) and tree diversity indices (the number of species, Margalef richness, Shannon-Wiener diversity, Simpson’s index, and Pielou’s evenness) differed significantly among forest types but did not differ among sites. We recorded a total of 5155 canopy trees belonging to 204 tree species, 104 genera, and 50 families at three sites, and the co-occurrence of tree species between adjacent communities was higher. A clear forest community distribution along an altitudinal gradient suggested that elevation was important in tree species distribution. Ordination identified elevation, slope degree, slope position, soil pH, organic matter, total nitrogen, and available nitrogen as significant explanatory variables of tree species distribution and showed that elevation was more important than the rest of the environmental variables in affecting local woody plant distribution. Understanding relationships between tree species distribution and environmental factors in subtropical mountain forests of the Lower Lancang River Basin would enable us to apply these findings to forest management and vegetation restoration. View Full-Text
Keywords: subtropical mountain forest; ordination; topography; edaphic factor; Lancang River Valley subtropical mountain forest; ordination; topography; edaphic factor; Lancang River Valley
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Zhang, C.; Li, X.; Chen, L.; Xie, G.; Liu, C.; Pei, S. Effects of Topographical and Edaphic Factors on Tree Community Structure and Diversity of Subtropical Mountain Forests in the Lower Lancang River Basin. Forests 2016, 7, 222.

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