Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2016, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (3): 200-211.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2015.0161

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Spatial patterns of species diversity in the herb layer of early post-fire regeneration in mixed Pinus yunnanensis forests

Jie HAN1, Ling-Xiao YING1, Gui-Xiang LI2, Ze-Hao SHEN1,*()   

  1. 1Department of Ecology, College of Urban & Environmental Sciences, the Key Laboratory of the Ministry of Education on Earth Surface Processes, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China

    2Forest Ecology Institute, Yunnan Academy of Forestry, Kunming 650204, China
  • Received:2015-05-07 Revised:2016-12-27 Online:2016-04-11 Published:2016-03-25
  • Contact: Ze-Hao SHEN

Abstract: Aims

Herb layer plays an important role in maintaining ecosystem functioning of forests. The aims of this study were to determine the pattern of species diversity in early post-fire regeneration of the herb layer in mixed Yunnan pine forests and to identify the effects of topography, fire severity, pre-fire vegetation and herb species life-history feature on post-fire regeneration.


We conducted field investigations of post-fire regeneration by randomly setting 47 transects of 10 m × 100 m in a burned forest stand in Qinfeng Township, Lufeng County, Yunnan Province, from September to October, 2013. The Two-Way Indicator Species Analysis (TWINSPAN) was used to classify the herb community types from the 47 transects, and species richness and two indexes of β-diversity were used to analyze herb species diversity and compositional change within sampling transects. Generalized linear model and hierarchical variation partitioning were applied to estimate factors affecting the pattern of herb species diversity of the post-fire communities.

Important findings

Four herb community types were identified for the 47 transects, which are differentiated by topographic features and fire severities. The species richness in the herb layer of early post-fire regeneration was primarily affected by elevation, topography, fire severity and the pre-fire forest canopy. Specifically, the species richness decreased with increasing elevation, and was positively correlated with biomass of the standing trees and steepness of site slope and negatively correlated with slope position. However, the species richness of herbs was not correlated with fire severity significantly. The within community β-diversity of the post-fire herb layer had a positive correlation with both basal area of pre-fire canopy trees and fire severity. Moreover, the β-diversity was lower at higher elevations. The results also highlighted the differences between annual and perennial species in their distribution patterns.

Key words: post-fire regeneration, herb diversity, species composition, pre-fire vegetation, topography, fire severity