Skip to main content
Log in

Overstory functional groups indicate the legacy of land use in a secondary tropical forest in southwestern China

  • Original Paper
  • Published:
Journal of Forestry Research Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

Anthropogenic disturbances are widespread in tropical forests and influence the species composition in the overstory. However, the impacts of historical disturbance on tropical forest overstory recovery are unclear due to a lack of disturbance data, and previous studies have focused on understory species. In this study, the purpose was to determine the influence of historical disturbance on the diversity, composition and regeneration of overstory species in present forests. In the 20-ha Xishuangbanna tropical seasonal rainforest dynamics plot in southwestern China, the historical disturbance boundaries were delineated based on panchromatic photographs from 1965. Factors that drove species clustering in the overstory layer (DBH ≥ 40 cm) were analyzed and the abundance, richness and composition of these species were compared among different tree groups based on multiple regression tree analysis. The coefficient of variation of the brightness value in historical panchromatic photographs from 1965 was the primary driver of species clustering in the overstory layer. The abundance and richness of overstory species throughout the regeneration process were similar, but species composition was always different. Although the proportion of large-seeded and vigorous-sprouting species showed no significant difference between disturbed and undisturbed forests in the treelet layer (DBH < 20 cm), the difference became significant when DBH increased. The findings highlight that historical disturbances have strong legacy effects on functional group composition in the overstory and the recovery of overstory species was multidimensional. Functional group composition can better indicate the dynamics of overstory species replacement during secondary succession.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6

Similar content being viewed by others

References

Download references

Acknowledgements

We thank Yuan Hu and Jinwen Lv for their assistance with historical data sorting and Dr. Yuebo Su for providing insightful comments and suggestions during the discussion on functional groups. We also thank Jinhai Mu, Shunrong Bao, Xin Dong, Yunchao Deng, Yan Shen, and Hanxiang Yan for their invaluable assistance with the field investigation.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

Min Cao and Yun Deng conceived, designed and directed the experiments and coordinated the study. Yun Deng wrote the manuscript. Min Cao improved and edited the manuscript. Wenfu Zhang, Jinlong Dong and Shengdong Yuan performed the field work. Hui Chen, Xiaobao Deng, Jiajia Liu, Xiaoyang Song, Shangwen Xia, and Luxiang Lin revised the manuscript. Liqing Sha provided the soil data. All authors have read and approved the submission of this manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Min Cao.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Project funding: This study was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of Yunnan Province (Grant No: 202301AT070356), the Open Fund of the Key Laboratory of Tropical Forest Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, National Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 32061123003), the Joint Fund of the National Natural Science Foundation of China-Yunnan Province (Grant No. U1902203) and the Field Station Foundation of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The online version is available at http://www.springerlink.com

Corresponding editor: Tao Xu.

Supplementary Information

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary file1 (PDF 750 KB)

Rights and permissions

Springer Nature or its licensor (e.g. a society or other partner) holds exclusive rights to this article under a publishing agreement with the author(s) or other rightsholder(s); author self-archiving of the accepted manuscript version of this article is solely governed by the terms of such publishing agreement and applicable law.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Deng, Y., Zhang, W., Cao, M. et al. Overstory functional groups indicate the legacy of land use in a secondary tropical forest in southwestern China. J. For. Res. 35, 85 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11676-024-01729-3

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11676-024-01729-3

Keywords

Navigation