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Peer-Review Record

Differentiation of Environmental Conditions Promotes Variation of Two Quercus wutaishanica Community Assembly Patterns

Forests 2020, 11(1), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11010043
by 1,†, 2,†, 2, 2, 2 and 2,*
Reviewer 1: Anonymous
Reviewer 2: Anonymous
Forests 2020, 11(1), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11010043
Received: 29 October 2019 / Revised: 20 December 2019 / Accepted: 24 December 2019 / Published: 27 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)

Round 1

Reviewer 1 Report

see attached file

Comments for author File: Comments.pdf

Author Response

Thank you very much for your professional comments on our manuscript (#641353). After read your suggestions, we were very grateful for your careful working. Now we have modified our manuscript based on your comments, we hope that this version of the manuscript will be approved by you and the reviewers. Changes to our manuscript were all highlighted within the document by using red colored text in the revised manuscript which we would like to submit for your kind. Some more detailed point by point responses are listed below. Thank you again for your kindly help and patient review.

Q1 The manuscript needs serious revision in terms of structure, language, and grammar.
R1 We are very sorry that the article was not clear enough. We have used the language editing service (Please see certificate we provided at attachment), and all the problems you pointed out have been revised. Please see the text with red color highlighted.

Q2 The abstract is poorly structured and need to be better organized to provide better flow.
R2 Thank you very much for your comments. we have modified the section of abstract. Please see Line 11-24.

Q3 Study site section would benefit greatly from a map showing the locations.Study site section also needs to give silvics for Q. wutaishanica.
R3 Thank you for you suggestion. We have added more details into MM section (See Line 80-84), and provided a map (Fig 1).

Q4 sentences that currently do not make sense due to grammar, missing words, or word order.
R4 Sorry for our careless and misleading expression of language. We have rewritten the section of discuss. We have used the language editing service, and all the problems you pointed out in the .pdf have been revised.
Thank you very much again for your comments.

Reviewer 2 Report

In the present manuscript, authors compare community assemblies of two distinct Quercus wutaishanica forests, i.e. the "climax" (usage of “climax” is questionable here) community in the Qinling Mountains vs the Loess Plateau. The two studied sites differ in climate and many other environmental factors (e.g. water regimes, soil types) that strongly influenced and formed the both current vegetation types in the past → different species pools, evolutionary histories, phylogenetic structures and diversities.

Comments, questions and ideas raised:

Introduction

Introduction is well written. I would only recommend to move a paragraph on Quercus wutaishanica (p. 2, l. 66 further) into “Material and methods”. Into this part in the MM, I would also add some info in QW distribution in China in general (e.g. some distribution map might be valuable), various vegetation types of QW where this species is predominant and/or dominant tree. Into the Introduction part, I would also include a paragraph on a species pool/ dark diversity and their terminology because these are not clearly used later in the text (especially in “Discussion”) and needs some clarification.

Material and methods

I would divide “Floristic surveys and construction of phylogenetic tree” into two parts “Floristic surveys” and “Construction of phylogenetic tree” (p. 3, l. 120 further).

From the methodological point of view, I think it is improper to have 20 sampling plots in Ziwuling region whereas 23 in Niubeiliang Nature Reserve, especially when we presume that the mountain region (in addition on altitudinal gradient) is much more species rich. Therefore, I would strongly recommend to have the same number of plots for the both studied forest types and re-calculate NRI and NTI etc.! Especially when we know about the strong relationship between the phylogenetic diversity and species richness.

Results

Table 1) I would also include “mean ± SD/SE” for all environmental conditions for QL and LP.

I would put Fig. 3–7 into one Figure (a, b, c, …).

 

Discussion

Unfortunately, this part is not completed, see p. 10, l. 323, as it ends in the middle of sentence. Based on my opinion, the discussion is largely trivial which is partly due to the selected distinct forest types studied. Although this part is comprehensibly written, we can with difficulty find some novel results and/ or interesting conclusions which would not be derived at the beginning of reading the manuscript.

 

Other suggestions in the attached pdf file.

 

 

 

Comments for author File: Comments.pdf

Author Response

Thank you very much for your professional comments on our manuscript (#641353). After read your suggestions, we were very grateful for your careful working. Now we have modified our manuscript based on your comments, we hope that this version of the manuscript will be approved by you and the reviewers. Changes to our manuscript were all highlighted within the document by using red colored text in the revised manuscript which we would like to submit for your kind. Some more detailed point by point responses are listed below. Thank you again for your kindly help and patient review.

Q1 I would only recommend to move a paragraph on Quercus wutaishanica (p. 2, l. 66 further) into “Material and methods”.
R1 We have moved these text into MM. Please see Line 82-86.

Q2 I would also add some info in QW distribution in China in general (e.g. some distribution map might be valuable).
R2 Thank you for you suggestion. We have added more details into MM section, and provided a map (Fig 1).

Q3 I would divide “Floristic surveys and construction of phylogenetic tree” into two parts “Floristic surveys” and “Construction of phylogenetic tree” (p. 3, l. 120 further).
R3 Thank you. We have divided it based on your comments. See Line 117-130.

Q4 I would strongly recommend to have the same number of plots for the both studied forest types.
R4 Thank you. We omitted 3 plots of QL to make sure there have the same number of plots for each site. Please see Table 1. Also, the community strucure metrics and diversities metrics have been re-calculated. Please see Fig.2-4.

Q5 I would put Fig. 3–7 into one Figure (a, b, c, …)
R5 Thank you. We have re-produce the figure. See Fig.4 a-e.

Q6 Discussion part is not completed,
R6 Sorry for our careless and misleading expression of language. We have rewritten the section of discuss. We have used the language editing service (Please see certificate we provided at attachment), and all the problems you pointed out in the .pdf have been revised.

Thank you very much again for your comments.

Author Response File: Author Response.pdf

Round 2

Reviewer 1 Report

see attached

Comments for author File: Comments.pdf

Author Response

Thank you very much for your professional comments. Now we have revised our manuscript based on your suggestions. More details as below:

Q1 Ln 33 – the continuation of the sentence after the parenthesis does not make sense.
R1 Sorry for our careless. This continuation of the sentence was an old version of the explaination of competitive exclusion. Now we have omitted these phrases from the text. Thank you for your comment.

Q2 Site locations could be better shown. In particular the yellow does not show up. The figure caption needs to be more informative. Also, I suspect that the species distribution does not end at the Chinese borders, and it would be nice to see the entire species range. Perhaps though this data is not available? – if that is the case this could be noted in the figure caption.

R2 Thank you very much. The Fig.1 has been re-produced. The site location was zoomed up and changed color to adjust to the Fig 3. Also, the species distribution does not end at the Chinese borders. However, we do not have maps of the species in other countries. Thus we noted this case in the figure caption, Ln 101.

Q3 typo and incomplete sentences.
R3 Sorry for our careless. We have modified these errors in Ln 110,125, 189-190, 249, 272.

Thank you very much again for your help.

Reviewer 2 Report

Dear authors, you have considerably improved the manuscript. Please, see my few additional comments in the attached pdf file.

Comments for author File: Comments.pdf

Author Response

Thank you very much for your professional comments. Now we have revised our manuscript based on your suggestions. More details as below:

Q1 the abbreviations used in the "Legend" should be explained in the text, e.g. LP and QL. I would also recommend to use the green colour for distribution RANGE of QW.
R1 Thank you very much for your suggestion. We have re-produced the Fig.1 based on your comments More details were explained in the text, Please see Ln 99-101.

Q2 Which three sampled plots were omitted?
R2 Based on your previous comments, we omitted 3 plots of QL. These plots were the furthest away from the other plots. These plots may increase the interference associated with spatial autocorrelation in beta-diversity patterns. Also, if we omitted these plots from the original database, the tendencies of diversities and community structures are still consistent with previous analysis (like our paper), suggesting the conclusion is robust.

Thank you very much again for your help.

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