Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2019, Vol. 43 ›› Issue (9): 762-773.doi: 10.17521/cjpe.2018.0088

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Altitudinal patterns of taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional diversity of forest communities in Mount Guandi, Shanxi, China

QIN Hao1,2,ZHANG Yin-Bo3,DONG Gang4,ZHANG Feng2,*()   

  1. 1School of Statistics, Shanxi University of Finance and Economics, Taiyuan 030006, China
    2Institute of Loess Plateau, Shanxi University, Taiyuan 030006, China
    3School of Environmental and Resource Sciences, Shanxi University, Taiyuan 030006, China
    4School of Life Science, Shanxi University, Taiyuan 030006, China
  • Received:2018-04-16 Accepted:2018-09-06 Online:2020-01-03 Published:2019-09-20
  • Contact: ZHANG Feng
  • Supported by:
    Supported by the National Basic Work of Science and Technology of China(2011FY110300);Supported by the National Basic Work of Science and Technology of China(2015FY110300)


Aims Understanding the spatial patterns and maintenance mechanisms of biodiversity is one of the central issues in ecology and biogeography. Specifically, altitudinal patterns of biodiversity have been widely explored to represent to mimic the latitudinal patterns. However, previous studies on altitudinal patterns of plant diversity have focused mainly on the taxonomic diversity, with less attention paid to the comprehensive information of taxonomic, phylogenetic evolution and functional traits. In this study, we explored maintenance mechanisms of diversity of forest communities in Mount Guandi, by comparing the altitudinal patterns of taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional diversity, based on the systematic investigation of forest communities.
Methods 52 forest plots, each with an area of 30 m × 20 m and divided into six subplots (10 m × 10 m), were investigated along the altitudinal gradient (1 409-2 150 m) in Mount Guandi, Shanxi. Name, diameter at breast height (DBH) and height were identified and measured for each tree stem with DBH ≥3 cm at each plot; name, average height, coverage and basal diameter for each shrub species were identified and measured in two of the six subplots; name, abundance, coverage and average height for each herbaceous species were identified and measured for one quadrat of 1 m × 1 m in each subplot. The indices of taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional α and β diversity were then calculated.
Important findings Species richness (S), phylogenetic diversity (PD) and functional richness (FRic) increased along the altitudinal gradient, especially in altitudes above 1 800 m. Total β diversity (βtotal) and replacement β diversity (βrepl) increased, while the richness difference (βrich) decreased, along the altitudinal gradient. The patterns of taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional diversity were significantly different between woody and herbaceous plants. S and Shannon-Wiener diversity (H′) of herbaceous plants increased more obvious along the altitude than those of woody plants. Topographic factors regulated the pattern of the herbaceous plant richness, while historical process regulated the woody plant richness. Along the altitude, βtotal increased more obvious for the woody plants than for the herbaceous plants. βrepl and βrich of woody plant showed a unimodal pattern and U-shaped pattern, while those of herbaceous plants increased or decreased, respectively. Taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional β diversity of both woody and herbaceous plants among communities increased with the environmental and geographical distances. Environmental distance had a relatively stronger effects than geographical distance on β diversity of woody plants, while environmental distance and geographical distance jointly influenced β diversity of the herbaceous plants.

Key words: taxonomic diversity, phylogenetic diversity, functional diversity, altitudinal pattern, forest community, Mount Guandi

Fig. 1

Distribution of plots of forest communities in Mount Guandi."

Fig. 2

Altitudinal patterns of taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional α diversity of forest communities in Mount Guandi."

Fig. 3

Variance in species richness of forest communities explained by topography, community structure and historical process factors in Mount Guandi."

Fig. 4

Altitudinal patterns of taxonomic (Tβ), phylogenetic (Pβ) and functional (Fβ) β diversity for all plants (A, D, G), woody plants (B, E, H) and herbaceous plants (C, F, I) of forest communities in Mount Guandi."

Fig. 5

Variance in taxonomic (Tβ), phylogenetic (Pβ) and functional (Fβ) β diversity along the environmental distance for all plants (A, D, G), woody plants (B, E, H) and herbaceous plants (C, F, I) of forest communities in Mount Guandi."

Fig. 6

Variance in taxonomic (Tβ), phylogenetic (Pβ) and functional (Fβ) β diversity along the geographical distance for all plants (A, D, G), woody plants (B, E, H) and herbaceous plants (C, F, I) of forest communities in Mount Guandi."

Fig. 7

Variance in taxonomic (Tβ), phylogenetic (Pβ) and functional (Fβ) β diversity of forest communities explained by environmental distance and geographical distance in Mount Guandi. AS, all species; HS, herbaceous species; WS, woody species."

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