Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2023, Vol. 47 ›› Issue (4): 491-505.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2022.0268

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Spatial distribution patterns in potential species richness of foraging plants for Hainan gibbons

ZHONG Jiao1, JIANG Chao1,*(), LIU Shi-Rong2, LONG Wen-Xing3, SUN Osbert Jianxin1   

  1. 1. School of Ecology and Nature Conservation, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
    2. Key Laboratory of Forest Ecology and Environment of National Forestry and Grassland Administration, Ecology and Nature Conservation Institute, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091, China
    3. College of Forestry, Hainan University, Haikou 570228, China
  • Received:2022-06-27 Accepted:2022-11-04 Online:2023-04-20 Published:2022-11-04
  • Contact: *(


Aims Hainan gibbons (Nomascus hainanus) are amongst the most endangered primates in the world and only endemic to China. This study aims to determine the potential species richness patterns of the foraging plants for Hainan gibbons.

Methods Based on the data on actual distribution points of foraging plants for Hainan gibbons and the controlling environmental variables, the potential distribution of those foraging plants in Hainan Island was simulated by using the maximum entropy (MaxEnt) model. The foraging plants were classified according to the type of organs used by the Hainan gibbons, the occurrence of foraging in dry season vs in rainy season, and preference of foraging.

Important findings The results show that: (1) Altitude, slope and the annual air temperature range are important environmental factors affecting the potential distribution of the foraging plants, with the potential species richness for all categories of the foraging plants positively correlated with altitude and slope, and negatively with annual air temperature range. (2) In Hainan Island, ten counties and cities in the south are the areas with concentrated occurrence of the foraging plants. The potential species richness for plants foraged for fruits and leaves, plants that are foraged either in dry or rainy seasons, and plants that are used as preferential food sources are all greater in the south than in the north, but the potential species richness for plants foraged for flowers is greater in the middle part of the Island and smaller in the fourth. (3) The hotspots for potential species richness of the foraging plants cover about 25.50% of the Island. In Bawangling, except the plants foraged for fruits, members of families Moraceae and Lauraceae are the preferential food sources for the gibbons, the hotspots for potential species richness of all other categories of foraging plants accounted for more than 40.00% of the area. This study provides information on the potentially concentrated distributions and the potential hotspots of species richness for different categories of foraging plants for Hainan gibbons, which serves to guide the efforts on conservation and recovery of Hainan gibbon populations.

Key words: Hainan gibbon, MaxEnt model, foraging plant, potential species richness