Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 10, Issue 5, pp 845–853 | Cite as

Effects of environmental factors on tree seedling regeneration in a pine-oak mixed forest in the Qinling Mountains, China

  • Fei Yu
  • De-xiang WangEmail author
  • Xiao-xiao Shi
  • Xian-feng Yi
  • Qing-ping Huang
  • You-ning Hu


Natural seedling regeneration and tree establishment are affected by various environmental factors. In this study, we established eight, eight, six, and four independent forest stands (each stand was further divided into five subplots) respectively based on the altitudinal gradient, stand density, slope location, and slope aspect to investigate the effects of environmental factors on tree seedling regeneration in a pine-oak mixed forest. The results indicated that the seedling density was significantly higher at altitudes of 1,283 m to 1,665 m, whereas the sapling density did not differ with altitudes. The seedling and sapling density decreased significantly at 1,835 m. The seedling densities on the upper slopes were much higher than those on the middle and lower slopes, whereas the sapling density had no difference. The sapling density decreased gradually from the southwest (20°-75°) whereas it increased on the shady slopes to the northeast (40°). The seedling density increased from southwest (20°) to northeast (40°). The seedling and sapling densities increased with the stand density (850 trees ha−1 to 1,525 trees ha−1) whereas the sapling density was significantly lower in stands (1,900 trees ha−1). Principal components analysis showed that the slope aspect and stand density had more important roles in tree regeneration in this study region compared with the other two factors. Therefore, our findings suggest that it will be beneficial to keep stands at a moderate density on shady slopes. Appropriate thinning of higher density stands is also expected to promote the natural regeneration of pine-oak mixed forest.


Environmental factors Pine-oak mixed forest Qinling Mountains Regeneration 


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fei Yu
    • 1
  • De-xiang Wang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Xiao-xiao Shi
    • 2
  • Xian-feng Yi
    • 3
  • Qing-ping Huang
    • 1
    • 4
  • You-ning Hu
    • 1
  1. 1.College of ForestryNorthwest A & F UniversityYanglingChina
  2. 2.College of Animal Science and TechnologyNorthwest A & F UniversityYanglingChina
  3. 3.College of Life SciencesJiangxi Normal UniversityNanchangChina
  4. 4.Forest Seed and Seedling General Station of Hainan ProvinceHaikouChina

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