Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2014, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (12): 1273-1282.DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1258.2014.00122

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Spatial distribution pattern of the dominant species Gironniera subaequalis in tropical montane rainforest of Jianfengling, Hainan Island, China

LIANG Shuang1, XU Han2,*(), LIN Jia-Yi1, LI Yi-De2, LIN Ming-Xian2   

  1. 1College of Forestry, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, China
    2Research Institute of Tropical Forestry, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Guangzhou 510520, China
  • Received:2014-05-09 Accepted:2014-11-06 Online:2014-05-09 Published:2015-04-16
  • Contact: XU Han


Aims Dominant species play a major role in the formation of community. Our objectives were to detect and assess the spatial pattern of Gironniera subaequalis, which is a dominant species with the second largest importance value in the tropical montane rainforest of Jianfengling, and to explore the effects of environmental heterogeneity, density-dependent mortality and dispersal limitation on the formation of its current spatial pattern.

Methods 10022 individuals were categorized into six size classes and three life-history stages, i.e. young trees, middle-aged trees and adult trees, respectively. The spatial pattern of each age class was analyzed by pair-correlation function. The spatial associations between paris of life-history stages were analyzed by bivariate pair-correlation function and mark-connection function. The impacts of topographic factors on the distributions of young trees, middle-aged trees and adult trees were analyzed by Berman test.

Important findings Results showed that the size classes I, II, III, and IV of G. subaequalis occurred in aggregated distributions. The aggregation intensities declined with increasing size classes. Size classes V and VI exhibited a uniform distribution at the smaller scales and a random distribution mainly at the larger scales. Young trees and middle-aged trees had a positive association; whereas young trees and adult trees had a negative association. Middle-aged trees and adult trees had a negative association at smaller scales and a weakly positive association at larger scales. The individuals of different life-history stages were separated from each other. There were no direct facilitative interactions between pairs of individuals. The tree topographic factors, slope degree, altitude and concave-convex, had significant impacts on the distribution of small trees; slope degree and concave-convex had significant impacts on the distribution of the middle-aged trees; whilst only slope degree had significant impacts on the adults trees. We inferred that the environmental heterogeneity and density-dependent mortality contributed to current spatial pattern of G. subaequalis, while the effects of dispersal limitation were not obvious.

Key words: Gironniera subaequalis, point pattern analysis, size class, spatial pattern of population, topographic factor