Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2016, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (11): 1154-1163.doi: 10.17521/cjpe.2016.0157

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Associations between litterfall dynamics and micro-climate in forests of Putuoshan Island, Zhejiang, China

Yan-Jun SONG1,2,3, Wen-Bin TIAN4, Xiang-Yu LIU1,2,3, Fang YIN1,2,3, Jun-Yang CHENG1,2,3, Dan-Ni ZHU1,2,3, ARSHAD Ali1,2,3, En-Rong YAN1,2,3,*()   

  1. 1School of Ecological and Environmental Sciences, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China

    2Putuo Forest Ecosystem Research and Observation Station, Zhoushan, Zhejiang 316100, China

    3Tiantong National Forest Ecosystem Observation and Research Station, Ningbo, Zhejiang 315114, China
    4Center of Garden Management in Putuoshan, Zhoushan, Zhejiang 316100, China
  • Received:2016-05-05 Accepted:2016-09-21 Online:2016-11-25 Published:2016-11-10
  • Contact: En-Rong YAN


Aims Seasonal litterfall production plays an important role in the carbon and nutrient cycling in forest ecosystems. This study examines the effects of micro-environmental factors on seasonal litterfall dynamics in the forests of Putuoshan Island, Zhejiang Province of eastern China.
Methods The study covers five forest types, including Liquidambar formosana forest, Cinnamomum japonicum and Machilus thunbergii forest, Pinus massoniana forest, Cyclobalanopsis glauca forest, and Distylium gracile forest, in Putuoshan Island. We collected micro-meteorological data, and measured monthly litterfall in stands of the five forest types over one year. Redundancy analysis (RDA) was performed to determine the effects of micro-climatic factors on litterfall production.
Important findings The average annual litterfall production ranged from 3.45 to 5.36 t·hm-2·a-1 across five types of forests, albeit no effect of forest types on the litterfall production. The partitioning of litterfall components differed among the five forest types. The seasonal litterfall production exhibited two contrasting patterns, i.e. double climax curve and triple peaks, and varied significantly among the five forest types. Moreover, the peak in the litterfall production mostly occurred in the windy months of the year, such as in April, July and December, which was consistent with the dynamics of wind speed. RDA results showed that components of litterfall production in different months were controlled by different micro-climatic factors. The total, leaves, fruits, and miscellaneous litterfall productions were directly and positively affected by air temperature. Twig litterfall production was positively affected by the overstory wind velocity. Flower litterfall production was negatively affected by air humidity. In summary, forest types had no effects on litterfall production. However, variations in litterfall productions were explained by air temperature, air humidity, and overstory wind velocity in the forests studied.

Key words: Putuoshan Island, litterfall production, litterfall dynamics, redundancy analysis, micro-climate

Table 1

Characteristics of the five forest types in Putuoshan Island, Zhejiang, East China"

Forest type
Age (a)
Altitude (m)
Community height (m)
Coverage (%)
Dominant tree species
Liquidambar formosana forest
50 65 19° 东南 SE 13.5 70 枫香 Liquidambar formosana
麻栎 Quercus acutissima
樟树 Cinnamomum camphora
Cinnamomum japonicum+
Machilus thunbergii forest
80 70 15° 西 W 9.5 100 红楠 Machilus thunbergii
天竺桂 Cinnamomum japonicum
Pinus massoniana forest
40 50 14° 东北 NE 13.5 80 马尾松 Pinus massoniana
石栎 Lithocarpus glabra
青冈 Cyclobalanopsis glauca
Cyclobalanopsis glauca forest
60 153 15° 东北 NE 8.5 90 青冈 Cyclobalanopsis glauca
石栎 Lithocarpus glaber
Distylium gracile forest
160 241 东北 NE 9.6 100 台湾蚊母树 Distylium gracile
铁冬青 Ilex rotunda
红楠 Machilus thunbergii
红山茶 Camellia longicaudata

Table 2

Characteristics of annual productions (t·hm-2·a-1) of different litterfall components of the five forest types in Putuoshan Island, Zhejiang, East China (Data in parentheses are percentages)"

Community type
Component production and percentage over the total
叶 Leaf 枝 Twig 花 Flower 果 Fruit 残体 Miscellaneous
枫香林 Liquidambar formosana forest 2.73 (68.23) 0.35 (8.62) 0.19 (4.83) 0.56 (14.05) 0.17 (4.27)
天竺桂+红楠林 Cinnamomum japonicum + Machilus thunbergii forest 2.96 (77.57) 0.28 (7.38) 0.19 (4.95) 0.18 (4.62) 0.21 (5.47)
马尾松林 Pinus massoniana forest 3.09 (78.50) 0.15 (3.72) 0.17 (4.21) 0.18 (4.49) 0.36 (9.08)
青冈林 Cyclobalanopsis glauca forest 3.22 (82.85) 0.21 (5.48) 0.08 (2.10) 0.08 (2.17) 0.29 (7.40)
台湾蚊母树林 Distylium gracile forest 3.81 (71.08) 0.98 (18.21) 0.06 (1.08) 0.15 (2.78) 0.37 (6.85)

Fig. 1

Seasonal dynamics of litterfall production of the five forest types in Putuoshan Island, Zhejiang."

Fig. 2

Monthly dynamics of micro-climatic factors across the five forest types in Putuoshan Island, Zhejiang."

Fig. 3

Redundancy analyses (RDAs) calculated from monthly litterfall production (dash line vectors) in Putuoshan Island of Zhejiang and the monthly air temperature, air humidity, overstory wind velocity (bold line vectors) over one year. FL, flower litterfall production; FR, fruit litterfall production; HA, air humidity; HS, soil humidity; L, leaf litterfall production; M, miscellaneous; T, total litterfall production; TA, air temperature; TW, twig litterfall production; V1, understory wind velocity; V2, overstory wind velocity. *, p < 0.05."

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