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Ecological species groups and interspecific association of vegetation in natural recovery process at Xiejiadian landslide after 2008 Wenchuan earthquake

Abstract

Wenchuan earthquake on 12 May 2008 triggered numerous landslides, which disturbed vast areas of vegetation in northwest Sichuan. However, based on our primary field investigation at Xiejiadian landslide in July 2009, we found an obvious increase of the number of plant species and then we made a hypothesis that, after earthquake, vegetation at this landslide might recover by itself. In this paper, we conduct a newly field investigation at Xiejiadian landslide during November 2014 to verify this hypothesis. We investigated plant species composition at total 56 sites (trees 4, shrubs 16 and herbs 36, respectively), and calculated the Schluter’s variance ratio, important values, x2 test, association coefficient, Ochiai index, Pearson’s and Spearman’s correlation coefficients, and Ecological species groups. Species sharply increased to 84 species belonging to 66 genera and 54 families, forming a complete life form containing trees, shrubs, herbs, and ground layers while only herbs detected in 2009. Moreover, an overall positive and moderately related interspecies association was detected for most of species pairs. Of total 84 species, twenty five were identified as dominant species and could be divided into four positive ecological species groups. This study verified our proposed hypothesis of self-recovery of vegetation in landslide triggered by the earthquake, and found Alnus cremastogyne, Rhus chinensis, Litsea cubeba, Vitis piasezkii and Anemone vitifolia would play a constructive role during the continuing succession of vegetation at Xiejiadian landslide.

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Correspondence to Shou-jiang Liu.

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http://orcid.org/0000-0002-5977-8971

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http://orcid.org/0000-0001-7644-1134

http://orcid.org/0000-0002-6532-7886

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Yang, Qw., Liu, Sj., Hu, Ch. et al. Ecological species groups and interspecific association of vegetation in natural recovery process at Xiejiadian landslide after 2008 Wenchuan earthquake. J. Mt. Sci. 13, 1609–1620 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11629-016-3807-8

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Keywords

  • Vegetation recovery
  • Interspecific association
  • Ecological species group
  • Wenchuan earthquake
  • Xiejiadian landslide