Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2015, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (10): 990-1002.doi: 10.17521/cjpe.2015.0096

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Quantitative classification of the subtropical evergreen-deciduous broadleaved mixed forest and the deciduous and evergreen species composition structure across two national nature reserves in the southwest of Hubei, China

HUANG Yong-Tao1,2, YAO Lan1, AI Xun-Ru1, LÜ Shi-An3, DING Yi2,4,*()   

  1. 1School of Forestry and Horticulture, Hubei University for Nationalities, Enshi, Hubei 445000, China
    2Institute of Forest Ecology, Environment and Protection, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091, China
    3Xingdoushan National Nature Reserve, Enshi, Hubei 445000, China
    4Collaborative Innovation Center of Sustainable Forestry in Southern China, Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing 210037, China
  • Online:2015-10-24 Published:2015-10-01
  • Contact: Yi DING
  • About author:

    # Co-first authors

Abstract: <i>Aims</i>

The subtropical evergreen-deciduous broadleaved mixed forest is the largest extant natural vegetation type in southwest Hubei. However, little knowledge exists on the types and compositions (especially the relative ratios of evergreen versus deciduous species) of this forest vegetation. Here, we quantitatively classify the less studied forest vegetation into different community types, compare their size and composition structure, and analyze species-environment relationships which is the basis for further understanding the biodiversity maintenance mechanism and reasonable protection and utilization of this forest.


We established 92 20 m × 20 m plots of subtropical evergreen-deciduous broadleaved mixed forest in two national nature reserves in Enshi, Hubei Province, China. All species with stems ≥1 cm diameter at breast height (DBH) in each plot were identified and mapped. These plots were classified by using two-way indicator species analysis (TWINSPAN) and detrended correspondence analysis (DCA). The species richness, abundance, basal area and importance value were chosen to compare structure, species composition and evergreen and deciduous ratio. Permutation-based multiple regression on distance matrices and multiple stepwise regression analysis were used to examine the relationship between species distribution and environmental factors.

<i>Important findings</i>

Our results showed that the subtropical evergreen-deciduous broadleaved mixed forest in the southwest of Hubei could be classified into five community types based on quantitative methods: i.e. Cyclobalanopsis glauca-Eurya alata + Camellia cuspidate (community type I), Carpinus fargesiana + Cyclo- balanopsis glauca-Eurya alata (community type II), Carpinus fargesiana + Cyclobalanopsis glauca-Weigela japonica (community type III), Fagus lucida + Cyclobalanopsis multinervis-Eurya alata (community type IV) and Carpinus fargesiana + Daphniphyllum macropodum + Lithocarpus cleistocarpus-Eurya alata (community type V). Species richness, abundance, basal area and importance value of evergreen and deciduous species in each community types were different. Deciduous species in community II, community III and community V were significantly higher than evergreen species in terms of species richness, stem abundance, basal area and importance value, but they had no significant differences in community I and community IV. The richness of deciduous species in most community types were higher than those of evergreen species, meanwhile the abundance, basal area and importance value of deciduous species in the small size classes (1 cm ≤ DBH < 5 cm) in each community types were lower than those of evergreen species. In middle size classes (5 cm ≤ DBH < 10 cm), the richness, abundance, basal area and importance value of deciduous species were higher than those of evergreen species in community II, community III and community V. However, in community I and community IV, the evergreen species were larger than deciduous species in the four indexes. The richness of deciduous species in majority of the community types were higher than those of evergreen species in large size classes (DBH ≥ 10 cm). The elevation, slope and aspect, soil total nitrogen content, soil total phosphorus content, soil available nitrogen content and soil available phosphorus content were the major factors affecting evergreen and deciduous species distribution across the five community types.

Key words: community type, the evergreen-deciduous broadleaved mixed forest, environmental factors, ratio of deciduous and evergreen species, quantitative classification

Fig. 1

Dendrogram of TWINSPAN classification for 92 plots in the subtropical evergreen-deciduous broadleaved mixed forest across two nature reserves in Southwest Hubei, China. D, division number; N, number of plot."

Fig. 2

Two-dimensional DCA ordination diagram for 92 plots in the subtropical evergreen-deciduous broadleaved mixed forest across two nature reserves in Southwest Hubei, China. Roman numerals (I, II, III, IV, V) indicate different community types."

Table 1

Importance value ( IV ) of the top 10 species in the five community types in the subtropical evergreen-deciduous broadleaved mixed forest across two nature reserves in Southwest Hubei, China"

群落类型 Community type 物种 Species 多度 Abundance 胸径 DBH (cm) 重要值 IV 叶习性 Leaf habit
群落I 青冈 Cyclobalanopsis glauca 752 6.38 2.48 常绿 Evergreen
Type I 翅柃 Eurya alata 599 4.02 1.12 常绿 Evergreen
尖连蕊茶 Camellia cuspidata 487 3.64 1.11 常绿 Evergreen
木荷 Schima superba 248 5.94 0.99 常绿 Evergreen
山矾 Symplocos sumuntia 535 3.05 0.95 常绿 Evergreen
锥栗 Castanea henryi 17 53.96 0.83 落叶 Deciduous
黄丹木姜子 Litsea elongata 385 2.85 0.82 常绿 Evergreen
薄叶山矾 Symplocos anomala 207 3.59 0.39 常绿 Evergreen
茶条果 Symplocos phyllocalyx 137 3.81 0.38 常绿 Evergreen
四照花 Dendrobenthamia japonica 70 7.58 0.36 落叶 Deciduous
群落II 川陕鹅耳枥 Carpinus fargesiana 669 4.05 1.28 落叶 Deciduous
Type II 山矾 Symplocos sumuntia 1 007 2.57 1.26 常绿 Evergreen
青冈 Cyclobalanopsis glauca 382 4.84 1.02 常绿 Evergreen
四照花 Dendrobenthamia japonica 367 3.9 0.84 落叶 Deciduous
亮叶桦 Betula luminifera 92 15.45 0.78 落叶 Deciduous
翅柃 Eurya alata 452 2.44 0.65 常绿 Evergreen
水马桑 Weigela japonica 172 4.51 0.40 落叶 Deciduous
灯台树 Bothrocaryum controversum 68 8.54 0.36 落叶 Deciduous
黄丹木姜子 Litsea elongata 136 3.13 0.34 常绿 Evergreen
枫香树 Liquidambar formosana 56 10.92 0.31 落叶 Deciduous
群落III 川陕鹅耳枥 Carpinus fargesiana 1 108 4.03 1.63 落叶 Deciduous
Type III 水马桑 Weigela japonica 843 3.89 1.41 落叶 Deciduous
青冈 Cyclobalanopsis glauca 850 3.93 1.18 常绿 Evergreen
四照花 Dendrobenthamia japonica 580 3.25 0.82 落叶 Deciduous
灰柯 Lithocarpus henryi 353 4.90 0.73 常绿 Evergreen
亮叶桦 Betula luminifera 144 9.80 0.72 落叶 Deciduous
小叶青冈 Cyclobalanopsis myrsinifolia 432 4.76 0.68 常绿 Evergreen
盐肤木 Rhus chinensis 163 7.14 0.57 落叶 Deciduous
贵定桤叶树 Clethra cavaleriei 355 3.11 0.57 落叶 Deciduous
山鸡椒 Litsea cubeba 344 3.08 0.57 落叶 Deciduous
群落IV 光叶水青冈 Fagus lucida 325 9.77 1.64 常绿 Evergreen
Type IV 多脉青冈 Cyclobalanopsis multinervis 414 6.87 1.23 落叶 Deciduous
翅柃 Eurya alata 526 3.13 0.95 常绿 Evergreen
川陕鹅耳枥 Carpinus fargesiana 140 8.16 0.62 落叶 Deciduous
宜昌润楠 Machilus ichangensis 77 7.88 0.31 常绿 Evergreen
交让木 Daphniphyllum macropodum 72 7.12 0.28 常绿 Evergreen
杜鹃 Rhododendron simsii 196 2.11 0.20 常绿 Evergreen
荚蒾 Viburnum dilatatum 119 2.04 0.20 落叶 Deciduous
光叶山矾 Symplocos lancifolia 60 4.28 0.17 常绿 Evergreen
包果柯 Lithocarpus cleistocarpus 48 7.69 0.17 常绿 Evergreen
群落V 川陕鹅耳枥 Carpinus fargesiana 1 359 7.63 4.67 落叶 Deciduous
Type V 翅柃 Eurya alata 1 710 2.84 2.53 常绿 Evergreen
包果柯 Lithocarpus cleistocarpus 502 8.13 1.71 常绿 Evergreen
交让木 Daphniphyllum macropodum 461 5.08 1.53 常绿 Evergreen
亮叶桦 Betula luminifera 201 12.09 1.40 落叶 Deciduous
齿缘吊钟花 Enkianthus serrulatus 1 268 3.03 1.37 落叶 Deciduous
长蕊杜鹃 Rhododendron stamineum 854 3.29 1.17 常绿 Evergreen
水马桑 Weigela japonica 345 5.56 1.17 落叶 Deciduous
锥栗 Castanea henryi 145 16.32 1.16 落叶 Deciduous
石灰花楸 Sorbus folgneri 519 4.91 1.09 落叶 Deciduous

Fig. 3

Species richness, abundance, basal area and importance value of the five forest types in the subtropical evergreen-deciduous broadleaved mixed forest across two nature reserves in Southwest Hubei, China (mean ± SD). Different lowercase letters (a, b) indicate significant differences at the level of 0.05. I, II, III, IV, V indicate different community types: Cyclobalanopsis glauca-Eurya alata + Camellia cuspidata, Carpinus fargesiana + Cyclobalanopsis glauca-Eurya alata, Carpinus fargesiana + Cyclobalanopsis glauca-Weigela japonica, Fagus lucida + Cyclobalanopsis multinervis-Eurya alata, Carpinus fargesiana + Daphniphyllum macropodum + Lithocarpus cleistocarpus-Eurya alata."

Fig. 4

Evergreen/deciduous ratio of species richness, abundance, basal area and importance value with size class in subtropical evergreen-deciduous broadleaved mixed forest across two nature reserves in Southwest Hubei, China. a, DBH 1-5 cm; b, DBH 5-10 cm; c, DBH ≥10 cm; DBH, diameter at breast height. I-V see Fig. 3."

Table 2

Effects of environmental factors on species distribution in subtropical evergreen-deciduous broadleaved mixed forest across two nature reserves in Southwest Hubei, China"

Environmental variables
R2 p
海拔 Elevation 0.126 7 0.001***
坡度 Slope 0.028 5 0.001***
坡向 Aspect 0.002 4 0.014*
土壤含水量 Soil water content 0.001 7 0.071
pH 0.002 9 0.059
土壤有机质 Soil organic matter 0.000 7 0.092
土壤全氮 Total nitrogen 0.001 1 0.002**
土壤全磷 Total phosphorus 0.036 4 0.001***
土壤碱解氮 Available nitrogen 0.017 8 0.001***
土壤速效磷 Available phosphorus 0.245 7 0.001***

Table 3

Multiple regression analysis between species richness and environmental variables in the five forest types in subtropical evergreen-deciduous broadleaved mixed forest across two nature reserves in Southwest Hubei, China"

Species richness2)
环境变量3) Environmental variables3) 参数4) Parameter4)
I ESR -0.26 -1.16 1.11 -46.83 0.020*
DSR -1.55 -32.35 0.329
II ESR 1.26 -4.31 2.54 -0.95 -55.14 0.008*
DSR -55.29 0.007*
III ESR -41.90 0.019*
DSR 7.85 0.29 -0.68 -64.30 0.032*
IV ESR -0.13 4.16 1.96 -11.01 0.021*
DSR -1.98 -24.49 0.053
V ESR -0.67 -0.57 -107.40 0.022*
DSR -2.32 -129.68 0.005*
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