Ecological Research

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 71–83

Climate and vegetation in China II. Distribution of main vegetation types and thermal climate

  • Jing-yun Fang
  • Kyoji Yoda

DOI: 10.1007/BF02346944

Cite this article as:
Fang, J. & Yoda, K. Ecol. Res. (1989) 4: 71. doi:10.1007/BF02346944


The authors examined relationships between Kira's warmth index (WI) and four other important thermal indices: the sums of daily mean temperatures above 5°C and 10°C, Thornthwaite's potential evapotranspiration (PE) and Holdridge's annual biotemperature. The thermal records of 671 meteorological stations evenly located all over China were used to make these comparisons. Close correlations were found within the four relationships, and accordingly WI was used to analyse the thermal distributions of the main vegetation types. Vegetation types around the 671 stations were read from a vegetation map with a scale of 1/4000000. Vegetation types at 269 stations corresponded to the natural or seminatural vegetation, and 29 vegetation types were distinguished by arranging the 269 data into the same or similar types. The geographical distribution of these 29 types and the corresponding main climatic features were described. The relations between WI and distribution of these vegetation types were discussed in detail. As a result, WI values (°C month) corresponding to the vegetation zones could be summarized as follows: (1) arctic or alpine vegetation zone: 0–15; (2) boreal or subalpine vegetation zone: 15-(50–55); (3) cool-temperate vegetation zone: (50–55)–(80–90); (4) warm-temperate vegetation zone: (80–90)–(170–180). These values almost coincided with Kira's values.

Key words

ChinaDistribution of vegetationThermal climatic zoneVegetation typeWarmth index (WI)

Copyright information

© the Ecological Society of Japan 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jing-yun Fang
    • 1
  • Kyoji Yoda
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Plant Ecology, Faculty of ScienceOsaka City UniversityOsakaJapan