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Forests 2017, 8(11), 436; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8110436

Forest Type and Tree Characteristics Determine the Vertical Distribution of Epiphytic Lichen Biomass in Subtropical Forests

1
Key Laboratory of Tropical Forest Ecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650223, China
2
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
3
National Forest Ecosystem Research Station at Ailao Mountains, Jingdong 676209, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 October 2017 / Revised: 3 November 2017 / Accepted: 10 November 2017 / Published: 12 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)
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Abstract

Epiphytic lichens are an important component in subtropical forests and contribute greatly to forest biodiversity and biomass. However, information on epiphytic lichens still remains scarce in forest conservation owing to the difficulty of accessing all canopy layers for direct observation. Here, epiphytic lichens were quantified on 73 whole trees in five forest types in Southwest China to clarify the vertical stratification of their biomass in subtropical forests. Lichen biomass was significantly influenced by forest type and host attributes, varying from 187.11 to 8.55 g∙tree−1 among forest types and from 289.81 to <0.01 g∙tree−1 among tree species. The vertical stratification of lichen biomass was also determined by forest type, which peaked at the top in primary Lithocarpus forest and middle-aged oak secondary forest and in the middle upper heights in other forests. Overall, the proportion of lichen biomass accounted for 73.17–100.00% of total lichen biomass on branches and 0.00–26.83% on trunks in five forests, and 64.53–100.00% and 0.00–35.47% on eight host species. Seven functional groups showed marked and various responses to tree height between and among forest types. This information improves our understanding of the distribution of epiphytic lichens in forest ecosystems and the promotion of forest management in subtropical China. View Full-Text
Keywords: epiphyte; forest type; functional group; host species; subtropical forest; vertical stratification epiphyte; forest type; functional group; host species; subtropical forest; vertical stratification
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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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Li, S.; Liu, S.; Shi, X.-M.; Liu, W.-Y.; Song, L.; Lu, H.-Z.; Chen, X.; Wu, C.-S. Forest Type and Tree Characteristics Determine the Vertical Distribution of Epiphytic Lichen Biomass in Subtropical Forests. Forests 2017, 8, 436.

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