Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 36, pp 36124–36135 | Cite as

Changes in multiple facets of macroinvertebrate alpha diversity are linked to afforestation in a subtropical riverine natural reserve

  • Jun Wang
  • Xiaoming Jiang
  • Zhengfei Li
  • Xingliang Meng
  • Jani Heino
  • Zhicai XieEmail author
  • Xiaoming Wang
  • Jiang Yu
Research Article


Land use change is one of the major factors impacting freshwater biodiversity. Afforestation could convert new lands from agriculture or urban land uses to reduce erosion and lead to landscape alterations and biodiversity changes. Here, we examined the changes in the three facets of macroinvertebrate alpha diversity (i.e., taxonomic, functional, and phylogenetic diversity) and further explored possible mechanisms driving their variations before (2007) and after (2016) afforestation along the undammed Chishui River, the core of the National Nature Reserve of Rare and Endemic Fishes in the Upper Yangtze River. We found that taxonomic diversity measures (e.g., species richness, Shannon-Wiener index and Simpson index) increased but all measures of functional diversity (e.g., FRic, FEve, FDiv, and RaoQ) and phylogenetic diversity (e.g., indices of taxonomic distinctness) exhibited stability after the afforestation practice. We also found that only significant taxonomic diversity variation was detected and it showed a relationship to alterations of land use rather than local environmental condition changes across the 10-year afforestation practice. Moreover, hydrology and nutrients levels showed changes after afforestation, but these changes had no effect on the biodiversity changes based on multiple linear regression models. In each survey, the three facets of alpha diversity were significantly explained by natural physical factors and showed inconsistent responses to these underlying environmental variables. In addition, the biodiversity-environment relationships remained stable before and after afforestation, indicating that the inherent mechanisms that drive macroinvertebrate community variation have not changed. Our findings highlight that different alpha diversity measures of lotic macroinvertebrates provide different information about biodiversity and respond differently to various environmental variables. Thus, it is necessary to integrate them into one framework when applying routine monitoring, assessment, and conservation procedures based on lotic macroinvertebrates.


Chishui River Functional diversity Taxonomic distinctness Land use change Yangtze River 



We are greatly indebted to Drs. Zhenli Huang, Tao Tang, Yajing Lu, Zhenhao Chu, Shuhan Guo, Zhuo Wang, and Jiaying Ren for their help in the field sampling, and Chunbo Huang’s suggestion on land use information processing.

Funding information

This work was supported by the China Three Gorges Projects Development Co., Ltd. Research Project (JGJ/0272015), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41571495, 31400469, 31770460), the National Science and Technology Basic Research Program (No. 2015FY110400-4) and Program for Biodiversity Protection (2017HB2096001006).

Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (DOCX 69 kb)
11356_2018_3491_MOESM2_ESM.docx (20 kb)
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jun Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xiaoming Jiang
    • 1
  • Zhengfei Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xingliang Meng
    • 1
  • Jani Heino
    • 3
  • Zhicai Xie
    • 1
    Email author
  • Xiaoming Wang
    • 4
  • Jiang Yu
    • 4
  1. 1.The Key Laboratory of Aquatic Biodiversity and Conservation, Institute of HydrobiologyChinese Academy of SciencesWuhanChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Biodiversity CentreFinnish Environment InstituteOuluFinland
  4. 4.China Three Gorges Projects Development Co., LtdChengduChina

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