Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2016, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (2): 127-139.doi: 10.17521/cjpe.2015.0365

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Composition and temporal dynamics of tree seedlings at different successional stages of conifer and broad-leaved mixed forests in Jiaohe, Jilin Province, China

Yan YAN, Xin-Na ZHANG, Jie YAO, Chun-Yu ZHANG, Xiu-Hai ZHAO*()   

  1. Key Laboratory for Forest Resources & Ecosystem Processes of Beijing, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
  • Online:2016-03-08 Published:2016-02-10
  • Contact: Xiu-Hai ZHAO


AimsOur objective was to explore the composition and temporal dynamics of woody plant seedlings and the ecological processes that affect the amount of seedlings in Jiaohe, Jilin Province, China. Methods We established a total of 415 seed-seedling census stations in three large permanent field plots belonging to three successional stages in the conifer and broad-leaved mixed forests. Based on three seedling censuses from 2012 to 2014, we analyzed species composition, quantitative character, height-classes structure and their inter-annual dynamics. Multiple linear regression was used to test the relationship between the abundance of seedlings for five major species and the forest types, the sum of the basal area of conspecific adult within 20 m away from a seed trap, as well as canopy openness.Important findings Our results show that: (1) The species composition of seedlings slightly varied among different successional stages, and was similar with that of trees in the plots. The rank of important values for seedling species among different years and successional stages varied slightly. (2) The number of seedlings and seedling species distributed mainly between 5-20 cm height classes, and decreased with the increasing height class. The number of seedlings decreased faster than that of seedling species, indicating that compared with interspecific competition, intraspecific competition was the main driver that led to seedling death. It confirmed the role of the negative density dependence in affecting seedling regeneration. (3) The amount of seedlings for all of the five major species was significantly positively related to the sum of the basal area of conspecific adults, which indicated that the quantity and distribution of seedlings were affected by dispersal limitation as well as niche processes. Our research confirmed the role of negative density dependence, dispersal limitation and niche processes on seedling composition.

Key words: seedling composition, successional stage, negative density-dependence, dispersal limitation, niche processes

Table 1

Summary of permanent forest plots in Jiaohe, Jilin Province, China"

Forest type
Plot area
Longitude and Latitude
Elevation (m)
No. of stations
Primary vegetation
Half-mature forest
420 m × 520 m 43.97º N, 127.73º E 468-519 99 阔叶红松林
Broad-leaved Pinus koraiensis forest
Mature forest
500 m × 840 m 43.95º N, 127.73º E 459-517 209 阔叶红松林
Broad-leaved Pinus koraiensis forest
Old-growth forest
500 m × 600 m 43.97º N, 127.75º E 576-784 143 阔叶红松林
Broad-leaved Pinus koraiensis forest

Fig. 1

The layout of monitoring stations in each of three forest plots. HF, half-mature forest; MF, mature forest; OGF, old-growth forest."

Fig. 2

Quadrat layout at each of the sampling station."

Fig. 3

Relative abundance and the number of species by height class distribution in different successional stages. HF, half-mature forest; MF, mature forest; OGF, old-growth forest."

Table 3

Results of the multiple linear regression analysis on the seedling abundance of five species against the forest types, the sum of conspecific basal area within 20 m (A) and canopy openness"

年份 Year 物种 Species CMF COGF A 林冠开阔度 Canopy openness
2013 五角枫 Acer pictum subsp. mono 0.141 0.584 0.473 -0.083
东北枫 Acer mandshuricum -0.187 0.329 0.521 -0.039
水曲柳 Fraxinus mandshurica -0.059 -0.589 0.214 -0.010
青楷枫 Acer tegmentosum 0.086 0.413 0.223 -0.092
紫椴 Tilia amurensis 0.031 0.100 0.246 -0.015
2014 五角枫 Acer pictum subsp. mono 0.135 0.361 0.242 -0.068
东北枫 Acer mandshuricum -0.031 0.281 0.265 0.035
水曲柳 Fraxinus mandshurica 0.061 -0.267 0.193 0.001
青楷枫 Acer tegmentosum 0.021 0.274 0.140 -0.067
紫椴 Tilia amurensis 0.208 0.237 0.301 -0.005
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