The changes of understory plant diversity in continuous cropping system of Eucalyptus plantations, South China
Source: Journal of Forest Research, Volume 15, Number 4, August 2010 , pp. 252-258(7)
Abstract:The assessment of biodiversity in managed plantations has become an important issue for long-term sustainability of the ecosystem. The continuous cropping system (CCS) is common practice in Eucalyptus plantations in southern China. In order to clarify the effects of such a practice on species compositions, species diversity, and functional type compositions of understory vegetation, a field trial was installed in the first and second rotations of Eucalyptus plantations. The treatments were replicated three times and arranged in a simple completely randomized design. Vegetation surveys were performed in 1998–2005 following the treatments. Although the CCS had no significant effect on the composition structures in terms of life-form, growth-form, seed dispersal strategies and breeding strategies, there were significant differences in percent coverages of shrub (SLC) and herbaceous layer (HLC) between two types of stand. The CCS reduced the species richness and species diversity remarkably, and was also particularly favorable for r-strategy herbaceous species at the expense of k-strategy woody species in understory vegetation. The repeated disturbances to soil and vegetation including clear-cutting followed by prescribed burning and mechanical plowing maybe the main factor which results in the negative change of understory plant diversity. Although more comprehensive studies on disturbance and a long-term monitoring of a broad-scale project will be required, we suggest that alternative silviculture, consisting of practices other than clear-cutting and prescribed burning, should be introduced to conserve species composition and diversity of Eucalyptus plantations.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: Forestry College, Guangxi University, 530005, Nanning, China, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 2: Guangxi Institute of Botany, 541006, Guilin, China 3: College of Life Science, Sichuan University, 610064, Chengdu, China 4: The Chinese Academy of Forestry, 100091, Beijing, China 5: Forestry College, Guangxi University, 530005, Nanning, China
Publication date: August 1, 2010