Plant Diversity ›› 2021, Vol. 43 ›› Issue (04): 264-274.DOI: 10.1016/j.pld.2021.03.003

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Topography and soil content contribute to plant community composition and structure in subtropical evergreen-deciduous broadleaved mixed forests

Qichi Yanga,b, Hehe Zhangc, Lihui Wanga, Feng Linga, Zhengxiang Wangc, Tingting Lic, Jinliang Huanga   

  1. a Key Laboratory for Environment and Disaster Monitoring and Evaluation, Hubei, Innovation Academy for Precision Measurement Science and Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan, 430077, China;
    b University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100049, China;
    c School of Resource and Environment, Hubei University, Wuhan, 430062, China
  • Received:2020-09-20 Revised:2021-03-23 Online:2021-08-25 Published:2021-09-07
  • Contact: Lihui Wang
  • Supported by:
    This study was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (51809250) and Hubei Provincial Natural Science Foundation for Innovation Groups (No. 2019CFA019). We are grateful to Kai Tian and Binmei Xiong (Hubei University) for providing valuable plant distribution information. We appreciate the help of Yuyang Xu, Bangjun Lin, Ling Li, Ze Li, Rongyou Chen, Wei Xiong, Wenjuan Zhang, Ruyue Ma during fieldwork. We also thank language editor Raymond Porter, peer reviewers and other editor(s) for valuable comments and discussions regarding the manuscript.

Abstract: Topography and soil factors are known to play crucial roles in the species composition of plant communities in subtropical evergreen-deciduous broadleaved mixed forests. In this study, we used a systematic quantitative approach to classify plant community types in the subtropical forests of Hubei Province (central China), and then quantified the relative contribution of drivers responsible for variation in species composition and diversity. We classified the subtropical forests in the study area into 12 community types. Of these, species diversity indices of three communities were significantly higher than those of others. In each community type, species richness, abundance, basal area and importance values of evergreen and deciduous species were different. In most community types, deciduous species richness was higher than that of evergreen species. Linear regression analysis showed that the dominant factors that affect species composition in each community type are elevation, slope, aspect, soil nitrogen content, and soil phosphorus content. Furthermore, structural equation modeling analysis showed that the majority of variance in species composition of plant communities can be explained by elevation, aspect, soil water content, litterfall, total nitrogen, and total phosphorus. Thus, the major factors that affect evergreen and deciduous species distribution across the 12 community types in subtropical evergreen-deciduous broadleaved mixed forests include elevation, slope and aspect, soil total nitrogen content, soil total phosphorus content, soil available nitrogen content and soil available phosphorus content.

Key words: Environmental factors, Plant community, Two-way indicator species analysis, Detrended correspondence analysis, Evergreen-deciduous broadleaved mixed forests, Northwestern of Hubei