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Forests 2016, 7(10), 228; doi:10.3390/f7100228

Partitioning Tree Species Diversity and Developmental Changes in Habitat Associations in a Subtropical Evergreen Broadleaf Secondary Forest in Southern China

Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Silviculture and Conservation, College of Forestry, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
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Academic Editor: Peter Spathelf
Received: 4 July 2016 / Revised: 25 September 2016 / Accepted: 4 October 2016 / Published: 14 October 2016
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Abstract

The classical environmental control model assumes that species diversity is primarily determined by environmental conditions (e.g., microclimate and soil) on the local scale. This assumption has been challenged by the neutral theory that assumes that the maintenance of biodiversity mainly depends on the ecological drift and dispersal limitation. Understanding the mechanisms that maintain biodiversity depends on decomposing the variation of species diversity into the contributions from the various components that affect it. We investigated and partitioned the effects of the biotic component (productivity, forest spatial structure) and the environmental component (topography and soil fertility) on the distribution of tree species richness jointly (the combined effect of environment and biotic process) and separately (the effect of environment or biotic process alone) in 25 permanent plots of 600 m2 in a subtropical evergreen broadleaf secondary forest in southern China. The analysis was also completed for trees at different growth stages based on diameter breast height (young trees: 5 cm ≤ DBH < 10 cm, mature trees: 10 cm < DBH ≤ 20 cm, old trees: DBH > 20 cm) within each plot. Our results indicated that (1) tree species richness had significant negative relationship with productivity and a unimodal relationship with its spatially structured distribution; (2) biotic and environmental factors both have significant influence on species richness and jointly explain ~60% of the variation for the overall tree assemblage, and the variation explained by the two components jointly increased across growth stages (34%, 44%, and 75%, respectively); (3) additive variation partitioning revealed that the tree species richness was dominantly controlled by environmental factors (32%), while the biotic component also independently contributed a non-negligible effect (16%); and (4) the dominant fraction changed from the biotic component to the environmental component across growth stages. Results suggest that the tree species richness may be governed from neutral process to environmental control during tree life span in subtropical evergreen broadleaf secondary forests. View Full-Text
Keywords: tree species richness; above ground biomass; spatial structure; evergreen broadleaf secondary forest; variation partitioning tree species richness; above ground biomass; spatial structure; evergreen broadleaf secondary forest; variation partitioning
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cui, W.; Zheng, X.-X. Partitioning Tree Species Diversity and Developmental Changes in Habitat Associations in a Subtropical Evergreen Broadleaf Secondary Forest in Southern China. Forests 2016, 7, 228.

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