Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 10, Issue 5, pp 724–733 | Cite as

Omni-directional distribution patterns of montane coniferous forest in the Helan Mountains of China

  • Yu Pang
  • Bai-ping ZhangEmail author
  • Fang Zhao
  • Yong-hui Yao
  • Shuo Zhang
  • Wen-wen Qi


Slope aspect has significant effect on the development and distribution of montane forest, especially in arid and semiarid regions. This paper, using SPOT5 images and 1:50,000 DEM, digitally extracts and analyzes the spatial information of montane coniferous forest (mainly Qinghai spruce), and thereby explores how the upper and lower limits and the altitudinal range of coniferous forest vary and how the area of coniferous forest is related with annual insolation with all aspects in the Helan Mountains. The results show that: 1) In the eastern flank, the lower limit of coniferous forest is between 1,600 m and 2,000 m a.s.l., and the upper limit between 2,800 m and 3,000 m a.s.l.; in the western flank, the lower limit of coniferous forest is between 2,000 m and 2,300 m a.s.l., and the upper limit between 2,800 m and 3,100 m a.s.l. 2) The altitudinal ranges of coniferous forest are 806∼1,435 m, 438∼1,140 m for eastern flank and western flank, respectively. 3) The area of coniferous forest takes on a normal distribution with aspect, and it has a close relationship with annual insolation. This distribution model developed in this paper quantitatively reveals the significant effect of slope aspect on the distribution of coniferous forest in arid and semi-arid land.


Arid region Helan Mountains Qinghai spruce (Picea crassifoliaAspect effect Coniferous forest Normal distribution 


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yu Pang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Bai-ping Zhang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Fang Zhao
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yong-hui Yao
    • 1
  • Shuo Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wen-wen Qi
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Resources and Environmental Information System, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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