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Journal of Plant Research

, Volume 123, Issue 6, pp 751–762 | Cite as

Regeneration pattern of primary forest species across forest-field gradients in the subtropical Mountains of Southwestern China

  • Xiao-Shuang Li
  • Wen-Yao Liu
  • Jun-Wen Chen
  • Cindy Q. Tang
  • Chun-Ming Yuan
Regular Paper

Abstract

Evergreen broad-leaved forest is now gradually degraded and fragmented, and there is an increase in the amount of habitat edges as a result of long-term human activity. However, the role of edges in the regeneration of primary forest species is poorly understood. After 20 years of the edge creation, we analyzed primary forest species distribution and abundance, and changes in floristic composition, vegetation structure across forest-field gradients in Ailao Mountain, SW China. Our results revealed that there was a higher abundance and richness of primary species, late secondary species and thorny lianas at the distances 0–50 m than at the distances more than 50 m from the edge into the forest exterior. At the distances >50 m, no individuals of dominant canopy trees Lithocarpus xylocarpus, Castanopsis wattii, and L. jingdongensis were found, whereas the abundance of early pioneer shrub species and herbaceous cover was significantly greater. The richness of primary species showed a decrease with increasing distances from the forest edge to the exterior, particularly of medium-seeded primary species showing a drastic decrease. Moreover, no large-seeded primary species occurred at the distances >60 m. This study indicates that the forest edge as a buffer zone may be in favor of primary species regeneration. A dense shrub and herb layer, and seed dispersal may be the major factors limiting the forest regeneration farther from the forest edge. Therefore, to facilitate forest recovery processes, management should give priority to the protection of buffer zones of this forest edge.

Keywords

Vegetation structure Primary species Forest edge Regeneration Evergreen broad-leaved forest 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was supported by Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 30771705), the Knowledge Innovation Program (No. KSCX2-YW-N066-03), and the Program of Hundreds of Talent Scientists of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (BRJH2002098). The Management Authority of the Ailao Mountain Nature Reserve is thanked for granting permission to undertaken the research reported. Li Dawen, Yang Wenzheng, Qi Jinhua, and other staff members of the Ailao Mountain Forest Ecosystem Research Station are thanked for their help in the field work. We also thank Prof. Min Cao and Dr. Luxiang Lin whose valuable comments helped us to improve the paper greatly.

Supplementary material

10265_2010_326_MOESM1_ESM.doc (436 kb)
Table S1 (DOC 436 kb)

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Copyright information

© The Botanical Society of Japan and Springer 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiao-Shuang Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wen-Yao Liu
    • 1
    • 3
  • Jun-Wen Chen
    • 4
  • Cindy Q. Tang
    • 5
  • Chun-Ming Yuan
    • 6
    • 7
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Tropical Forest Ecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical GardenChinese Academy of SciencesKunmingChina
  2. 2.Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.School of Environmental BiologyCurtin University of TechnologyPerthAustralia
  4. 4.Department of Crop Science, College of Agronomy and BiotechnologyYunnan Agricultural UniversityKunmingChina
  5. 5.Institute of Ecology and GeobotanyYunnan UniversityKunmingChina
  6. 6.Yunnan Academy of ForestryKunmingChina
  7. 7.Yunnan Laboratory for Conservation of the Rare, Endangered and Endemic Forest Plants, State Forestry Administration, and Yunnan Key Laboratory for Forest Plant Cultivation and UtilizationKunmingChina

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