Almost three-fourths of forests are experiencing anthropogenic disturbances globally, and more than two-thirds of the forests in Nepal receive different types of disturbances. In community forests (CFs), local communities are dependent on the ecosystem services provided by the forests for various aspects of their livelihoods, which disturb the forests’ natural conditions and ecosystem functioning in a variety of ways. This study tested the major disturbance factors that had influential roles on plant species diversity, recruitment (seedlings and saplings), biomass, soil organic carbon (SOC) and total carbon density in two community-managed forests in the Mid-hills of Nepal. The stump number, cut-off seedlings and saplings, lopping, dropping, and grazing/trampling were used as measures of the major anthropogenic disturbances. The necessary data were collected from 89 randomly selected sample plots, each with an area of 250 m2. The responses to anthropogenic disturbances were analyzed using Generalized Linear Models (GLM). The results showed that forest lopping was the most significant anthropogenic disturbance for biomass and total carbon density balance. A higher degree of lopping in the forests resulted in a lowering of the forests' carbon stock in the study area. SOC showed no significant response to any of the tested anthropogenic disturbances. Woody species richness and number of saplings increased with an increasing number of stumps, which signifies that intermediate disturbance was beneficial. However, a higher intensity of lopping reduced the sapling density. Grazing/trampling was the most significant disturbance for inhibiting seedling growth. Areas in the forests with a higher intensity of trampling showed lower numbers of seedlings and saplings. These results will be a guide for managing anthropogenic disturbances in multiple-use forests in Nepal, as well as those in similar socio-economic environments worldwide.
The Yarlung Zangbo River Basin is an important populated area in Tibet, and its plant community structure and diversity pattern have attracted the attention of many scholars. In this paper, the distribution pattern of plant diversity and the environmental factors impacting it in the middle and upper reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo River are revealed and discussed through sample surveys and climate and habitat data. The results show that the plant communities in the study area can be divided into seven types according to the dominant species: Artemisia minor + Stipa purpurea, Artemisia wellbyi + Festuca ovina, Potentilla fruticosa + Orinus thoroldii, Trikeraia hookeri + Artemisia frigida, Kobresia pygmaea, Sophora moorcroftiana + Artemisia hedinii, and Sophora moorcroftiana + Pennisetum centrasiaticum. Plant diversity decreases with decreasing longitude, increasing latitude, and increasing altitude; and the diversity distribution pattern in the study area has distinct zonal characteristics. Water and heat are the main factors which affect the distribution of vegetation types. The explanation rates of water and heat for the plant diversity distribution pattern were 19.3% and 5.7%, respectively, while the spatial variation explained by these two factors together was 60.8%. Therefore, the coupling effect is obvious.
Coastal sand dune ecosystems generally have infertile soil with low water-holding capacity and high salinity. However, many plant species have adapted to the harsh sand environment along the southeastern coast of China. Studying the microbial biomass in such an ecosystem can improve our understanding of the roles that microbes play in soil fertility and nutrient cycling. We investigated the differences in soil microbial biomass carbon (MBC) and nitrogen (MBN) contents and their seasonal dynamics in five forest types (a secondary forest and plantations of Casuarinas, Pine, Acacia, and Eucalyptus). The results indicated that the seasonal variations of soil MBC and MBN contents in all five forest stands were higher in spring and winter, but lower in summer and autumn. The MBC content was lower in the Casuarinas plantation than in the other plantations in the same soil layer. However, no significant differences were observed in MBN contents among the different forest types. The MBC and MBN concentrations were positively correlated with soil moisture, but negatively correlated with soil temperature. The MBC and MBN contents also decreased with increasing soil depth. Across all soil layers, secondary forest had the highest MBC and MBN concentrations. Our study also showed that the MBC and MBN contents were positively affected by total soil carbon (TC), pH, and litter N content, but were negatively impacted by soil bulk density and litter C content. Moreover, the MBN content was positively correlated with root N content. In summary, environmental factors and the differences in litter and fine roots, soil nutrient contents, as well as the soil physical and chemical properties caused by different tree species collectively affected the concentrations of the soil MBC and MBN.
In order to provide a theoretical basis for the protection and development of T. ciliata germplasm resources, we studied the genetic diversity of T. ciliata by using SSR (Simple Sequence Repeat) primers to evaluate the genetic diversity of 192 T. ciliata germplasm samples from 24 populations of 5 provinces. DataFormater, Popgene, NTSYS, TFPGA and other software were used for genetic data conversion, genetic parameter estimation, dendrogram construction and genetic variation analysis. The results showed that: 1) a total of 17 alleles (Na) were detected in seven pairs of primers, with an average of 2.260 for each primer. Among them, the highest numbers of alleles (4) were detected in primers S11 and S422.The mean value of Nei’s genetic diversity index (H) was 0.4909, the mean value of Shannon information index (I) was 0.7321, and the mean value of polymorphic information content (PIC) was 0.5182. The mean expected heterozygosity (He) and observed heterozygosity (Ho) were 0.1055 and 0.4956, respectively. The Nei°s genetic distances of the populations ranged between 0.0002 and 2.6346, and the mean was 0.5477. The average genetic diversity level (H=0.1044) of the 24 populations was lower than that of the species (H=0.4909). 2) The genetic differentiation coefficients (Fst) varied from 0.2374 to 0.9148, with an average value of 0.7727. The mean of population gene flow (Nm) was 0.0735, indicating a low level of genetic exchange between populations, and suggesting that the genetic variation mainly came from within populations. 3) With the UPGMA method, the 24 populations were clustered into 3 groups at Nei’s genetic identity (0.99): the populations from Guizhou Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region were clustered into one group, the populations from Hunan Province were in another group, and the populations from Hubei Province were in the third group. The Mantel test analysis showed a significant correlation between Nei’s genetic distance and geographic distance (r=0.6318, P=0.009?0.05). The genetic diversity of the 24 populations of T. ciliata was at a low level. Geographic isolation was the main reason for genetic differentiation among T. ciliata provenances. In the protection of germplasm resources of T. ciliata, emphasis should be placed on breeding genetic resources from the populations with higher genetic diversity (P14, for example). As for the populations with low genetic diversity, an ex-situ protection strategy as well as ecological and timber objectives, should be taken into account to maximize the conservation and utilization of the diversity of T. ciliata.
Pinus taiwanensis is a species endemic to China. This study selected four typical plots of Pinus taiwanensis in the natural secondary forest around Macheng City, in order to reveal the characteristics of and the relationships between different diameter classes (determined based on the diameter at breast height or DBH), forest densities and species diversity, as well as the similarities of species diversity of different plots within the community. The result showed that Pinus taiwanensis was the dominant species in the community. The ratio of Pinus taiwanensis trees of diameter class IV reached a peak of 19.46% of the total followed by diameter class VII at 18.92%. The study recorded 156 species of vascular plants from 130 genera of 71 families; Pinus taiwanensis was the dominant species in the community. When the forest density was 1200 trees ha -1 with the largest average diameter of DBH=36.779±4.444 cm, the diversity (Shannon index H'=1.6716) and the evenness (Pielou index E=0.6727) of the tree layer was the highest. When the forest density reached 1525 trees ha -1 with the lowest average diameter of DBH=18.957±5.141 cm, the richness (Dma=5.4308), the diversity (H'=2.9612) and the evenness (E=0.8985) of all shrub layers climbed to the maximum. When the forest density was 1325 trees ha -1, the richness (Dma=5.8132), the diversity (H'=3.0697) and the evenness (E=0.9025) of all herb layers peaked. In terms of vertical structure, the average diversity indexes were herb layer>shrub layer>tree layer. High canopy density weakened light intensity in the community, causing a reduction in the species diversities of herbs and shrubs. The average similarity coefficient between the sample plots was 0.3356, which was at the medium dissimilarity level. External disturbances and improper management were major contributors to the low species diversity of the community. The implementation of scientific management measures is urgently needed to optimize the forest structures of Pinus taiwanensis, create a benign community environment, and promote species diversities and establish a stable forest community structure.
A comparative discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of natural stands and plantations, including in terms of their productivity and stability, began from the moment of the first forest plantings and continues to this day. In the context of the progressive replacement of natural forests by plantations due to deforestation, the question of how will change the carbon storage capacity of forest cover when replacing natural forests with artificial ones in a changing climate becomes extremely relevant. This article presents the first attempt to answer this question at the transcontinental level on a special case for two-needled pine trees (subgenus Pinus L.). The research was carried out using the database compiled by the authors on the single-tree biomass structure of forest-forming species of Eurasia, in particular, data of 1880 and 1967 of natural and plantation trees, respectively. Multi-factor regression models are calculated after combining the matrix of initial data on the structure of tree biomass with the mean January temperature and mean annual precipitation, and their adequacy indices allow us to consider them reproducible. It is found that the aboveground and stem biomass of equal-sized and equal-aged natural and plantation trees increases as the January temperature and precipitation rise. This pattern is only partially valid for the branches biomass, and it has a specific character for the foliage one. The biomass of all components of plantation trees is higher than that of natural trees, but the percent of this excess varies among different components and depends on the level of January temperatures, but does not depend at all on the level of annual precipitation. A number of uncertainties that arose during the modeling process, as well as the preliminary nature of the obtained regularities, are noted.
Data selection and methods for fitting coefficients were considered to test the self-thinning law. The Chinese fir (Cunninghamia lanceolata) in even-aged pure stands with 26 years of observation data were applied to fit Reineke’s (1933) empirically derived stand density rule (N $propto$ d¯ -1.605, N = numbers of stems, d¯ = mean diameter), Yoda’s (1963) self-thinning law based on Euclidian geometry (v¯ $propto$ N -3/2, v¯ = tree volume), and West, Brown and Enquist’s (1997, 1999) (WBE) fractal geometry (w¯ $propto$ d¯ -8/3). OLS, RMA and SFF algorithms provided observed self-thinning exponents with the seven mortality rate intervals (2%-80%, 5%-80%, 10%-80%, 15%-80%, 20%-80%, 25%-80% and 30%-80%), which were tested against the exponents, and expected by the rules considered. Hope for a consistent allometry law that ignores species-specific morphologic allometric and scale differences faded. Exponents α of N $propto$ d¯α, were significantly different from -1.605 and -2, not expected by Euclidian fractal geometry; exponents β of w¯ $propto$ Nβ varied around Yoda’s self-thinning slope -3/2, but was significantly different from -4/3; exponent γ of w¯ $propto$ d¯γ tended to neither 8/3 nor 3.
Throughfall, stemflow, evapotranspiration and infiltration are likely to vary with forest types, and consequently affect soil moisture regimes in different soil layers. In this study, the spatial and temporal characteristics of soil moisture were investigated to understand variations in soil moisture in three typical forests, including Phyllostachys pubescens forest (abbreviated as PPF), Schima superba forest (abbreviated as SSF) and Cunninghamia lanceolata forest (abbreviated as CLF) in the upper reaches of Lijiang River basin in southern China. The results showed that, (1) Litterfall and soil physical properties differed significantly in the three typical forests. Infiltration capacity in SSF was more favorable to soil moisture than in PPF and CLF. (2) Large variations were found in soil moisture at different forest stands and depths. Due to complicated vertical structures, there were obvious differences in soil moisture from the 0-20 cm soil layer to the 50-80 cm soil layer. (3) Average soil moisture in each layer was higher in SSF than in PPF and CLF. (4) Soil moisture in different layers correlated closely with precipitation (P<0.01) and the three typical forests had the same change trends with rainfall during the studying period. (5) In topsoil, soil moisture was influenced by soil properties which were mostly determined by litterfall, while in deep soil, soil moisture was affected by variations of soil characteristics, which were mostly determined by root distribution. This study provides a scientific basis for better understanding the relationships between forest vegetation and its hydrological effects, helping to facilitate water resources conservation and achieving wise forest management in the upper reaches of Lijiang River basin.
The Mongolian and Tibetan Plateaus have experienced warming higher than the global average in recent decades, resulting in many significant changes to ecosystem structures and functions. Among items that show change are the leaf area index (LAI) and evapotranspiration (ET), both of which play a fundamental role in shaping many causes and consequences of land surface processes and climate. This study examines the spatiotemporal changes of the LAI and ET and their relationships on these two roofing landscapes. Based on the MODIS products from 2000 through 2014, we found that there existed a general positive relationship between LAI and ET on the Mongolia Plateau (MP), while synergy did not exist on the Tibetan Plateau (TP). Overall, 49.38% (50.62%) of land areas on the TP experienced significant increases (decreases) in LAI, while on the MP the percentages of increase and decrease were 94.92% (5.09%). For ET, the increased land area was 21.70% (124100 km2) on the TP and 88.01% (341600 km2) on the MP. More importantly, the relationships varied substantially across space and over time, with mismatches found in some parts of the landscapes. Additional observational investigations and/or experimental research are needed to explore the relationships, including the influences of vegetation characteristics and disturbances.
The accurate measurement of the dynamics of photosynthesis in China’s subtropical evergreen forest ecosystems is an important contribution to carbon (C) sink estimates in global terrestrial ecosystems and their responses to climate change. Eddy covariance has historically been the only direct method to assess C flux of whole ecosystems with high temporal resolution, but it suffers from limited spatial resolution. During the last decade, continuous global monitoring of plant primary productivity from spectroradiometer sensors on flux towers and satellites has extended the temporal and spatial coverage of C flux observations. In this study, we evaluated the performance of two physiological remote sensing indices, fluorescence reflectance index (FRI) and photochemical reflectance index (PRI), to measure the seasonal variations of photosynthesis in a subtropical evergreen forest ecosystem using continuous canopy spectral and flux measurements in the Dinghushan Nature Reserve in southern China. The more commonly used NDVI has been shown to be saturated and mainly affected by illumination (R2=0.88, p < 0.001), but FRI and PRI could better track the seasonal dynamics of plant photosynthetic functioning by comparison and are less affected by illumination (R2=0.13 and R2=0.51, respectively) at the seasonal scale. FRI correlated better with daily gross primary production (GPP) in the morning hours than in the afternoon hours, in contrast to PRI which correlated better with light-use efficiency (LUE) in the afternoon hours. Both FRI and PRI could show greater correlations with GPP and LUE respectively in the senescence season than in the recovery-growth season. When incident PAR was taken into account, the relationship between GPP and FRI was improved and the correlation coefficient increased from 0.22 to 0.69 (p < 0.001). The strength of the correlation increased significantly in the senescence season (R 2=0.79, p < 0.001). Our results demonstrate the application of FRI and PRI as physiological indices for the accurate measurement of the seasonal dynamics of plant community photosynthesis in a subtropical evergreen forest, and suggest these indices may be applied to carbon cycle models to improve the estimation of regional carbon budgets.
Fluctuations in soil greenhouse gas (GHG) are an important part of the terrestrial ecosystem carbon-nitrogen cycle, but uncertainties remain about the dynamic change and budget assessment of soil GHG flux. Using high frequency and consecutive soil GHG fluxes measured with an automatic dynamic chamber system, we tested the applicability of the current Forest-DNDC model in simulating soil CH4, CO2 and N2O fluxes in a temperate broad-leaved Korean pine forest at Changbai Mountain. The results showed that the Forest-DNDC model reproduced general patterns of environmental variables, however, simulated seasonal variation in soil temperature, snow melt processes and soil moisture partly deviated from measured variables, especially during the non-growing season. The modeled CH4 flux was close to the field measurement and co-varied mainly with soil temperature and snowpack. The modeled soil CO2 flux had the same seasonal trend to that of the observation along with variation in temperature, however, simulated CO2 flux in the growing season was underestimated. The modeled N2O flux attained a peak in summer due to the influence of temperature, which was apparently different from the observed peak of N2O flux in the freeze-thaw period. Meanwhile, both modeled CO2 flux and N2O flux were dampened by rainfall events. Apart from consistent estimation of annual soil CH4 flux, the annual accumulation of CO2 and N2O was underestimated. It is still necessary to further optimize model parameters and processes using long-term high-frequency observation data, especially transference of heat and water in soil and GHG producing mechanism. Continues work will improve modeling, ecosystem carbon-nitrogen budget assessment and estimation of soil GHGs flux from the site to the region.
Dynamic changes in solar radiation have an important influence on ecosystem carbon sequestration, but the effects of changes caused by sky conditions on net ecosystem CO2 exchange (NEE) are unclear. This study analyzed the effects of sunny, cloudy, and overcast sky conditions on NEE using carbon flux and meteorological data for a subtropical coniferous plantation in 2012. Based on one-year data, we found no seasonal variation in the light response curve under various sky conditions. Compared with sunny sky conditions, the apparent quantum yield (α) and potential photosynthetic rate at a light intensity of 150 and 750 W m-2 (P150 and P750) under cloudy sky conditions increased by an average of 82.3%, 217.7%, and 22.5%; α and P150 under overcast sky conditions increased by 118.5% and 301% on average. Moderate radiation conditions were more favorable for maximum NEE, while low radiation conditions inhibited NEE. In most cases, when the sunny NEE was used as a baseline for comparison, the relative change in NEE (%NEE) was positive under cloudy sky conditions and negative under overcast sky conditions. The average maximal %NEE under cloudy sky conditions was 42.4% in spring, 34.1% in summer, 1.6% in autumn and -87.3% in winter. This study indicates that cloudy sky conditions promote photosynthetic rates and NEE in subtropical coniferous plantations.