, Volume 13, Issue 7, pp 1355-1372

Tropical rain forest fragmentation and its ecological and species diversity changes in southern Yunnan

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Abstract

Three fragmented rain forests and one primary forest in southern Yunnan were plotted. The microclimate and soil conditions of these forests were also studied. The following conclusions were drawn: (1) The microclimatic differences between inside and outside forest are less in the fragmented forests than in the primary forest, which indicates that the buffer effects to climatic change have been reduced in the fragmented forests. The soil has deteriorated to some extent due to forest fragmentation. (2) In species composition, especially the abundance of some species and the dominant ranks of some families have changed with fragmentation. Barringtonia macrostachya, the most dominant species in the control primary forest, disappeared from the fragmented forests, while Antiaris toxicaria, which is a characteristic but not dominant species in the primary forest, is dominant in fragmented forests. (3) The total number of species per plot was reduced in the fragmented forests and the more seriously disturbed the fragment was, the more the species richness diminished. (4) In life form spectra, the liana and microphanerophyte species increased, but epiphyte, megaphanerophyte, mesophanerophyte and chamaephyte species decreased in the fragmented forests. (5) The plant species diversity is generally lower in the fragmented forests than in the primary forest, although for some life forms it could be higher. (6) The tree species with small populations could be lost first in the process of rain forest fragmentation. (7) The heliophilous or pioneer tree species increased and the shade-tolerant species were reduced in the fragmented forests.