Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2024, Vol. 48 ›› Issue (1): 80-91.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2023.0091

Special Issue: 植被生态学

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Community characteristics and population dynamics of Acer miaotaiense, an extremely small population species in Shennongjia, China

WANG Yu-Ting1, LIU Xu-Jing1, TANG Chi-Fei1, CHEN Wei-Yu1, WANG Mei-Juan2, XIANG Song-Zhu2, LIU Mei2, YANG Lin-Sen3, FU Qiang1, YAN Zhao-Gui1, MENG Hong-Jie1,2,4,*()()   

  1. 1College of Horticulture & Forestry Sciences, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, China
    2Shennongjia Academy of Forestry, Shennongjia, Hubei 442499, China
    3Shennongjia National Park Administration, Hubei Key Laboratory for Conservation Biology of Snub-nosed Monkeys in Shennongjia, Shennongjia, Hubei 442421, China
    4Shennongjia Institute of Agriculture and Forestry Industry, Shennongjia, Hubei 442499, China
  • Received:2023-03-30 Accepted:2023-06-10 Online:2024-01-20 Published:2023-12-22
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  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(31800347);Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities(2662021YLQD001);China Postdoctoral Science Foundation(2019M652742)


Aims Analyzing characteristics of the population and community is one of the most effective approaches to determining their endangered status. Listed as second-level endangered species, Acer miaotaiense was regarded as an extremely small population species. However, as details on the distribution and population characteristics of the species are lacking in Shennongjia area, the conservation of this species is severely constrained.

Methods This study investigated population and community characteristics of A. miaotaiense in Shennongjia area. We studied the population dynamics of the species by analyzing its age structure, static life table, and survival curve.

Important findings The results showed that: (1) there were 33 species of woody plants belonging to 15 families and 20 genera in the community, and the dominant species in the community were Juglans mandshurica, Carpinus cordata, Dipteronia sinensis and Corylus chinensis. (2) The relative importance value of A. miaotaiense was 2.23%, making it a non-dominant species in the community. (3) The distribution range of A. miaotaiense in Shennongjia was very narrow (about 1.7 hm2), and the population size was small (79 plants). (4) The proportion of young individuals of A. miaotaiense was relatively high (79.75%), indicating good regeneration. (5) The species survival curve belonged to the Deevey-II type, and the mortality rate of each age group of the population was similar. However, the mortality rate increased in the juvenile stage and peaked (62.5%) in the adult stage (12.5 cm ≤ diameter at breast height < 17.5 cm). (6) Fruiting individuals were rare, and a high percentage of seeds (58.15%) was non-viable, and resistance to external disturbance was low. In summary, the small population size, narrow distribution range, and low resistance to external disturbance are the likely factors contributing to the endangered status of A. miaotaiense in Shennongjia area. We believe that the population of A. miaotaiense in Shennongjia area is declining. Therefore, it is necessary to strengthen in situ conservation of the existing A. miaotaiense population, especially the young trees in the Shennongjia area. In the future, programs should be set up to monitor the population dynamics of the species and carry out seedling breeding for population restoration of the species.

Key words: Acer miaotaiense, species composition, population structure, plant species with extremely small population, diameter at breast height