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Altitudinal Biodiversity Gradient and Ecological Drivers for Different Lifeforms in the Baotianman Nature Reserve of the Eastern Qinling Mountains

State Key Lab for Resources and Environment Information System, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2019, 10(4), 332;
Received: 1 March 2019 / Revised: 5 April 2019 / Accepted: 9 April 2019 / Published: 12 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)
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Variation in species composition between two communities is so-called β diversity, or dissimilarity, and can be separated into two components: turnover and nestedness. However, the mechanisms underlying these two components remain ambiguous, particularly for different lifeforms. In this study, we examined the altitudinal gradient of biodiversity in the Baotianman Nature Reserve of the eastern Qinling Mountains in central China and found that turnover is the predominant process accounting for β diversity, that dispersal limitation is the main factor influencing species diversity, and that its effect on trees is greater than on shrubs, with herbs least affected. Nestedness, in contrast, is less prominent and generally affected by the richness deviation between communities, and the impact of richness deviation is stronger on shrubs than on trees, and in turn, stronger than on herbs. We zoned the altitudinal vegetation communities by pairwise dissimilarity index, and found that the peak value of turnover rather than β diversity indicates the existence of transitional zones; the higher the turnover index, the greater the diversity between communities. Comparatively, nestedness indicates species overlap between communities. The highest nestedness index usually occurs in the interior of vegetation zones. The result of community clustering by pairwise dissimilarity shows that understory species could have been mostly replaced upwards, while the dominant tree species may keep stable, indicating that dispersal limitation works differently for different lifeforms. View Full-Text
Keywords: β diversity; turnover; nestedness; mountain vegetation; vegetation zones β diversity; turnover; nestedness; mountain vegetation; vegetation zones

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Zhao, C.; Wang, J.; Yu, F.; Zhang, X.; Yao, Y.; Zhang, B. Altitudinal Biodiversity Gradient and Ecological Drivers for Different Lifeforms in the Baotianman Nature Reserve of the Eastern Qinling Mountains. Forests 2019, 10, 332.

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