Annals of Forest Science

, 75:84 | Cite as

Demographic strategies of a dominant tree species in response to logging in a degraded subtropical forest in Southeast China

  • Xianyu Yang
  • Shouzhong Li
  • Baocheng Shen
  • Yuyan Wu
  • Suitao Sun
  • Rong Liu
  • Ruibo Zha
  • Shou-Li Li
Research Paper


Key message

The demography of pioneer tree species ( Pinus massoniana Lamb.) is significantly affected by logging in Southeast China. Logging negatively affects the population growth rate of P. massoniana , which facilitates the growth of individual trees but has no effect on reproduction probability. The survival and growth of seedlings contribute the most to population growth.


Subtropical forest degradation caused by unreasonable disturbances is closely related to anthropogenic activities in Southeast China, and the frequent small-scale logging activity by local people was the dominated disturbance regime in forests in this region over the past several decades.


The objective of this study is to evaluate the demographic consequences of logging on Pinus massoniana, a pioneer tree species, at individual level (survival, growth, and fecundity) and population level (the population growth rate and size distribution) over short-term period.


The size of tree individuals was combined with vital rates using various modeling approaches based on demographic data from three annual censuses. The integral projection model (IPM) was constructed and used to conduct comparative demographic analyses.


Logging negatively affected the population growth rate: from a slight expansion before logging to a moderate decline after logging. This study found a significant reduction in seedling recruitment after logging, and plant growth and mortality were slightly enhanced. The survival of seedlings greatly contributes to population growth rate compared to other life stages for both periods (before and after logging) while its relative importance decreases after logging. Seedling growth is also important to population growth, and its relative importance increased after logging. Shrinkage and fecundity have a minimal contribution effect on the population growth rate.


Growing plants in a nursery with a similar demography to P. massoniana could be beneficial for pioneer species regeneration in that this will improve the survival rate and growth of small individuals after logging.


Pinus massoniana Logging Integral projection model Elasticity Degraded subtropical forest Pioneer tree demography 



We would like to thank Pei-Zhi Lin and Ying Zhao for their dedicated assistance during data collection in the field.


This study was supported by the National Natural Sciences Foundation of China (grant no 31470633) and the National Key Research and Development Program of China (grant no 2017YFC05054).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© INRA and Springer-Verlag France SAS, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xianyu Yang
    • 1
  • Shouzhong Li
    • 1
  • Baocheng Shen
    • 2
  • Yuyan Wu
    • 1
  • Suitao Sun
    • 1
  • Rong Liu
    • 3
  • Ruibo Zha
    • 4
  • Shou-Li Li
    • 5
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Subtropical Mountain Ecology (Funded by Ministry of Science and Technology and Fujian Province)Fujian Normal UniversityFuzhouChina
  2. 2.Section of Ecology, Department of BiologyUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of BotanyChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.College of ToursimFujian Normal UniversityFuzhouChina
  5. 5.Department of Biology and Center for Infectious Disease DynamicsThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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