Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 659–670 | Cite as

Distribution patterns and associations of dominant tree species in a mixed coniferous-broadleaf forest in the Changbai Mountains

  • Meng-tao Zhang
  • Xin-gang KangEmail author
  • Jing-hui Meng
  • Li-xin Zhang


In 2012 a plot was established with 1-ha area in a mixed coniferous-broadleaf forest in the Changbai Mountains, northeastern China for examining local forest processes, structure and succession. A method of O-ring statistics (pair-correlation function) was applied to analyze the spatial patterns and associations of the dominant species within different vertical layers. After the evaluation by their importance values, six tree species (or group) (i.e. Abies nephrolepis, Picea jezoensis, Pinus koraiensis, Tilia amurensis, and species group of Betula ssp. and species group of Acer ssp.) were determined as dominant trees species. It was found that some of these species exhibited closely clustered distributions at fine distances. As spatial distance increased, a random or even regular distribution gradually appeared with the exception of the upper layers of A. nephrolepis and P. koraiensis, and the lower layers of P. jezoensis, P. koraiensis and Betula ssp., which were substantially randomly distributed. Intra- and inter-species spatial associations varied in accordance with species, tree height and reciprocal distances. Positive associations were observed between the lower and upper height classes of trees of the same species (except for that of P. jezoensis) at fine distances. This may be owing to limited seed dispersal and geological heterogeneity. The aggregation intensity declines with increasing distances and this consistent with the predictions of self-thinning. Some coniferous trees (e.g. Pinus koraiensis) in the lower height class were positively associated with T. amurensis and group of Betula ssp. of the upper height class at some distances, suggesting that saplings of coniferous trees occupy a broader niche and can grow well under the canopy of the adult of broad-leaved trees. Negative associations were observed between upper coniferous trees and lower broad-leaved trees and between upper P. jezoensis and lower P. koraiensis, suggesting that a canopy of these trees might not provide suitable environment for the survival, establishment, and growth of lower individuals, corresponding well to Janzen-Connell hypothesis.


Mixed coniferous-broadleaf forest O-ring statistics Spatial pattern Spatial association Null model 


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Meng-tao Zhang
    • 1
  • Xin-gang Kang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jing-hui Meng
    • 1
  • Li-xin Zhang
    • 2
  1. 1.Key Laboratory for Silviculture and Conservation Ministry of EducationBeijing Forestry UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Yunnan Forest InstituteKunmingChina

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