Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2022, Vol. 46 ›› Issue (11): 1411-1421.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2022.0288

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Spatial turnover of shrubland communities and underlying factors in northern mid-subtropical China

GAO Lu-Xin1,2,3, LAN Tian-Yuan1,2,3, ZHAO Zhi-Xia1, DENG Shu-Yu1,3, XIONG Gao-Ming1,2, XIE Zong-Qiang1,2,3, SHEN Guo-Zhen1,2,3,*()   

  1. 1State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
    2China National Botanical Garden, Beijing 100093, China
    3University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2022-07-12 Accepted:2022-09-28 Online:2022-11-20 Published:2022-10-25
  • Contact: *SHEN Guo-Zhen(
  • Supported by:
    The Special Foundation for National Science and Technology Basic Research Program of China(2015FY1103002);The National Key R&D Program of China(2022YFF1303402)


Aims Environmental factors are among the key factors governing the community species spatial turnover. As one of the widely distributed vegetation types in subtropical region of China, it is important to understand the species composition differences among shrubland communities, which will provide important information for protecting biodiversity and eco-security shield construction in the northern mid-subtropical region, China. However, little is known about which factors drive the species spatial turnover in subtropical region of China. The objectives of this study were to investigate the shrubland community spatial turnover pattern and to determine the key factors that shape the present distribution of species based on the field-based data in northern mid-subtropical China.
Methods Based on the field-based data in mid-subtropical shrublands, we used the generalized dissimilarity modelling (GDM) by the Bray-Curtis dissimilarity index to explore the driving effects of climate, soil, topography, and human disturbance on species turnover of the shrubland communities in northern mid-subtropical China.
Important findings The results showed that climatic factors had significant effects on plant species turnover of the shrubland communities in northern mid-subtropical China. With the increase of altitude, slope, soil total nitrogen content and gross domestic product (GDP), species turnover rate increased significantly. Mean annual air temperature and the distance to road had no significant effects on species turnover. The species turnover rate decreased when soil pH became too acidic or too alkaline, and the rate reached the maximum value when pH was 5. Climate, soil, topography, and human disturbance explained 33.55% of the species turnover deviances, of which, soil accounted for 26.54% of the GDM deviances, while climate and topography, human disturbance accounted for 13.39% and 3.17% of the GDM deviances, respectively. Soil pH contributed 37.28% of the deviances to the species turnover of shrubland community. In conclusion, environmental factors (especially soil pH) were the major drivers of the species spatial turnover in northern mid-subtropical shrubland communities.

Key words: environmental heterogeneity, shrubland, species turnover, generalized dissimilarity modelling (GDM)