Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2019, Vol. 43 ›› Issue (9): 742-752.doi: 10.17521/cjpe.2018.0244

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Distribution, community structures and species diversity of larch forests in North China

FANG Wen-Jing1,CAI Qiong1,ZHU Jiang-Ling1,JI Cheng-Jun1,YUE Ming2,GUO Wei-Hua3,ZHANG Feng4,GAO Xian-Ming5,TANG Zhi-Yao1,FANG Jing-Yun1,*()   

  1. 1Institute of Ecology, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes of the Ministry of Education, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
    2Key Laboratory of Resource Biology and Biotechnology in Western China, Ministry of Education, Northwest University, Xi’an 710069, China
    3Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity, School of Life Sciences, Shandong University, Qingdao, Shandong 266237, China
    4Institute of Loess Plateau, Shanxi University, Taiyuan 030006, China
    5State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
  • Received:2018-10-03 Accepted:2018-12-24 Online:2020-01-03 Published:2019-09-20
  • Contact: FANG Jing-Yun
  • 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(2015FY210200)


Aims Larch forests are important for timber harvesting and water-soil conservation in North China. To explore the distribution, community structure and species diversity of larch forests is important for the vegetation conservation and sustainable utilization in North China.
Methods We collected species composition and local environment for 215 forest plots dominated by three common larch species, namely, Larix principis-rupprechtii, L. kaempferi and L. chinensis, in North China during 2000-2017. Among these types, L. kaempferi forests are planted, while L. chinensis forests are almost natural, and most of L. principis-rupprechtii forests are natural. Based these data, we used the canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) to explore the relationship between species composition and environment. We also explored the pattern of community structure and species diversity of these three forests in relation to environmental factors.
Important findings Mean annual air temperature (MAT) was the most important factor for the distribution of these larch forests. The proportion of natural forest decreased, while that of planted forest increased, with MAT. Diameter at breast height (DBH) and height distribution of three larch forests were right-skewed, indicating that all of these larch forests are at relatively stable successional stage. Species richness differ remarkably among different larch forests, which was highest in the L. chinensis forests (39.3 ± 17.9), followed by the L. kaempferi forests (37.4 ± 22.4), and lowest in the L. principis-rupprechtii forests (planted forests 27.2 ± 17.7, natural forests 27.5 ± 13.8). Species richness, the maximum DBH and the maximum height decreased with latitudes and longitudes. Species richness, the maximum DBH and the maximum height increased with annual precipitation. However, species richness showed no significant trend, and the maximum height increased, while the maximum DBH decreased, with MAT. The patterns of species richness along geographical and climatic gradients were consistent between the planted, the natural and the overall (including both planted and natural) larch forests. However, the patterns of community structure differed remarkably among planted, natural and overall larch forests. The maximum height of planted forests increased, while that of natural forests decreased, with latitude and longitude. The maximum DBH and height of natural forests decreased, while those of planted forests increased, with MAT and annual precipitation, respectively.

Key words: larch forest, Larix principis-rupprechtii, Larix kaempferi, Larix chinensis, community structure, species composition, species diversity

Table 1

Investigation area of three larch forests in North China"

落叶松林类型 Larch forest type 起源类型 Origination 样方数量 No. of plots 主要调查地点 Main sites
Larix principis-rupprechtii forest
人工林 Planted forest 66 山东: 泰山等
Shandong: Mt. Taishan etc.
天然林 Natural forest 84 河北: 雾灵山、小五台山等
Hebei: Mt. Wuling, Mt. Xiaowutai etc.
内蒙古: 大青山
Nei Mongol: Mt. Daqing
山西: 太行山、中条山等
Shanxi: Mt. Taihang, Mt. Zhongtiao etc.
宁夏: 六盘山
Ningxia: Mt. Liupan
日本落叶松林 L. kaempferi forest 人工林 Planted forest 36 山东: 崂山、昆嵛山等
Shandong: Mt. Laoshan, Mt. Kunyu etc.
河南: 玉皇山、龙峪湾林场
Henan: Mt. Yuhuang, Longyuwan Forest Farm
太白红杉林 L. chinensis forest 天然林 Natural forest 29 陕西: 太白山、朱雀森林公园等
Shaanxi: Mt. Taibai, Zhuque Forest Park etc.
总计 Total 215

Fig. 1

Sampling sites of the three larch forests in North China."

Fig. 2

Canonical correspondence analysis ordinations oflarch forests along geographical (A) and environmental variables (B) in North China. Environmental factors include Aspect, Slope, mean annual air temperature (MAT) and mean annual precipitation (MAP). LCF, L. chinensis forest; LKF, L. kaempferi forest; LPF, Larix principis-rupprechtii forest; NF, natural forest; PF, planted forest."

Table 2

Scores of the canonical correspondence analysis ordinations of larch forests in North China"

地理因素 Geographical factor CCA 1 CCA 2 R2 p
经度 Longitude 0.89 -0.46 0.44 <0.01
纬度 Latitude 0.84 -0.55 0.42 <0.01
海拔 Altitude -0.96 0.27 0.13 <0.01
Climatic and topographical factors
CCA 1 CCA 2 R2 p
年降水量 MAP 0.19 -0.98 0.08 <0.01
年平均气温 MAT 0.99 -0.11 0.53 <0.01
坡度 Slope -0.65 0.76 0.15 <0.01
坡向 Aspect -0.75 0.66 0.03 0.1

Table 3

Important value of the main tree species in the canopy of three larch forests in North China"

IV (%)
IV (%)
IV (%)
IV (%)
Larix principis-

油松 Pinus tabuliformis
Alnus sibirica
Quercus mongolica
Betula platyphylla
红桦 B. albosinensis
华山松 Pinus armandii
其他种 Other species




L. principis-rupprechtii
油松 P. tabuliformis
红桦 B. albosinensis
白桦 B. platyphylla
白扦 Picea meyeri
青扦 P. wilsonii
黑桦 B. dahurica
山杨 Populus davidiana
红皮云杉 P. koraiensis
胡桃楸 Juglans mandshurica
辽东栎 Q. wutaishanica
其他种 Other species
日本落叶松 L. kaempferi
水榆花楸 Sorbus alnifolia
白檀 Symplocos paniculata
三桠乌药 Lindera obtusiloba
麻栎 Q. acutissima
Toxicodendron vernicifluum
日本花柏 Chamaecyparis pisifera
赤松 P. densiflora
胡桃楸 Juglans mandshurica
蓝果树 Nyssa sinensis
辽东栎 Q. wutaishanica
椴树 Tilia tuan
水曲柳 Fraxinus mandschurica
华山松 P. armandii
刺槐 Robinia pseudoacacia
其他种 Other species
太白红杉 L. chinensis
巴山冷杉 Abies fargesii
Rhododendron clementinae subsp. aureodorsale
糙皮桦 B. utili
Sorbus koehneana
白桦 B. platyphylla
其他种 Other species


Fig. 3

Species richness of the tree (A), shrub (B) and herb (C) layers in the Larix principis-rupprechtii, L. kaempferi and L. chinensis forests in North China. Different lowercase letters mean the result of multiple comparisons. LCF, L. chinensis forest; LKF, L. kaempferi forest; LPF, L. principis-rupprechtii forest; NF, natural forest; PF, planted forest."

Table 4

Species richness of larch forests in North China"

Forest type
Tree layer
Shrub layer
Herb layer
华北落叶松(人工林) LPF (PF) 2.5 ± 2.1b (1-9) 4.7 ± 4.1c (0-18) 20.4 ± 15.8b (0-55) 27.2 ± 17.7b (0-63)
华北落叶松(天然林) LPF (NF) 3.1 ± 2.1b (1-11) 5.8 ± 5.0bc (0-29) 11.4 ± 19.1b (0-50) 27.5 ± 13.8b (1-65)
日本落叶松林(人工林) LKF (PF) 5.1 ± 2.9a (1-11) 13.8 ± 9.1a (4-38) 20.4 ± 15.1b (4-56) 37.4 ± 22.4ab (14-81)
太白红杉林(天然林) LCF (NF) 2.2 ± 1.5b (1-6) 7.7 ± 3.6ab (0-22) 29.6 ± 15.8a (12-73) 39.3 ± 17.9a (17-98)
所有天然林 All natural forest 2.9 ± 2.0a (1-11) 6.2 ± 4.7a (0-29) 21.8 ± 13.4a (0-73) 30.5 ± 15.8a (1-98)
所有人工林 All planted forest 3.5 ± 2.7a (1-11) 7.9 ± 7.6a (0-38) 20.4 ± 15.5a (0-56) 30.8 ± 20a (1-81)

Table 5

Diameter at breast height (DBH) and height structure of dominant species in three larch forests in North China"

Dominant species
Mean ± SD
胸径 DBH (cm) 华北落叶松(人工林) LPF (PF) 4 251 15.1 ± 6.4d 3.0-36.2 0.2 2.2
华北落叶松(天然林) LPF (NF) 4 464 18.0 ± 7.5c 3.0-75.8 0.7 4.4
日本落叶松(人工林) LKF (PF) 1 463 20.7 ± 8.4a 3.2-56.0 0.8 3.7
太白红杉(天然林) LCF (NF) 1 278 19.5 ± 9.8b 3.0-80.0 0.8 4.5
所有天然林 All natural forest 5 742 18.3 ± 8.1a 3.0-80.0 0.8 4.8
所有人工林All planted forest 5 714 16.5 ± 7.4b 3.0-56.0 0.7 3.8
树高 Height (m) 华北落叶松(人工林) LPF (PF) 4 251 11.3 ± 4.2c 2.2-35.5 0.6 3.6
华北落叶松(天然林) LPF (NF) 4 464 12.3 ± 4.3b 2.0-30.0 0.3 3.2
日本落叶松(人工林) LKF (PF) 1 463 17.6 ± 8.2a 2.3-39.5 0.6 2.8
太白红杉(天然林) LCF (NF) 1 278 9.1 ± 4.8d 2.0-30.0 2.0 8.2
所有天然林 All natural forest 5 742 11.6 ± 4.6b 2.0-30.0 0.6 3.6
所有人工林 All planted forest 5 714 12.9 ± 6.1a 2.2-39.5 1.4 5.6

Fig. 4

Changes in community structure and species richness with latitude, longitude, mean annual temperature (MAT) and precipitation (MAP) for the larch forests in North China. The structure measurements of forests include the maximum diameter at breast height (DBHmax) and height (Heightmax). LCF, L. chinensis forest; LKF, L. kaempferi forest; LPF, L. principis-rupprechtii forest; NF, natural forest; PF, planted forest."

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