Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2002, Vol. 26 ›› Issue (增刊): 9-19.

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LI Qing-Kang, MA Ke-Ping   

  1. Laboratory of Quantitative Vegetation Ecology, Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
  • Online:2002-09-01 Published:2015-03-09


Abstract Advances in the field of succession ecophysiology since the 1980s are overviewed in this paper. The microhabitats at early-succession stage are greatly different from the late ones because of erosion and vegetation modification during succession. In general, habitats are open and sunny at early-succession stage and more closed at late-succession stage. Environmental factors change faster with high temporal heterogeneity at early succession stage, but are more stable at late successional stage with high spatial heterogeneity. Water content is much lower with high temperature in early successional stands. Nutrient availability increased shortly (within several years) after the disturbances (eg. cutting, burning), then declined back with further succession. While N nutrients increase with succession in extreme oligotrophic stands or during primary succession. Different disturbances cause NH4+/NO3 ratio to change, which shows some influences on seedling shade response. Air humidity is usually very low, while air temperature and radiation with more red lights are high in early successional stands relative to late successional stands. Besides the differences in community composition, the ecophysiological attributes and adaptation of early successional plants are also different from the late successional plants. Those differences make the succession go smoothly. Contrasting to late successional plants, early successional plants share many sun-adapted characteristics, such as higher photosynthesis capacity, compensation and saturated light point, respiration, conductance and WUE relative to late ones. They also have good adaptability and high flexibility with high stress resistance and wide niches. Sunfleks and gaps play an important role in maintaining forest function and stability at late successional stages. With global climate change developing, communities in the process of secondary succession, deteriorated vegetation and early-succession ecosystems will occur more frequently on the earth.