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:2019-09-20 Published:2020-01-03
  • 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