Journal of Ecology and Rural Environment ›› 2019, Vol. 35 ›› Issue (2): 217-224.doi: 10.19741/j.issn.1673-4831.2018.0231

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Niche Characteristics of Plant Populations in Understory Herbaceous Layer of Cunninghamia lanceolata Pure Forest and Mixed Forest

FENG Yu-chao, ZHENG Xiao-yang, WANG Zheng-ning, LIU Bo, LAN Si-ren   

  1. College of Forestry, Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University/State Forestry Administration Engineering Research Center of Chinese Fir, Fuzhou 350002, China
  • Received:2018-04-24 Online:2019-02-25 Published:2019-03-25


Niche is an important factor to evaluate intraspecific and interspecific relationships, and it is of vital significance to silviculture and plantation management. Shannon-Wiener, Levins' niche width, Levins' niche overlap and niche proportional similarity were used to compare the niche characteristics of understory herbaceous layers in Cunninghamia lanceolata pure forest and mixed forest. The results indicate that (1) When the occurrence frequency of a plant was higher in the community, its niche was broader. Alpinia chinensis and Woodwardia japonica, with the widest niches, showed the highest frequency under both forest types. That is, the two species were dominant in the community. Compared with the species having narrow niche width, these two species can acquire resources more efficiently because of their strong environmental adaptability and competitiveness. (2) There were no apparent positive relationships between niche width and niche overlap. However, niche width increased with the increase in the combined niche overlap by these species over that of the other plants. (3) When compared with the pure forest, the number of plant species in the understory herbaceous layer of the mixed forest was higher, and the niche width in the mixed forest was higher than that in the pure forest. This finding indicates that the plants in the understory herbaceous layer in the mixed forest make more complete use of the resources. Moreover, plant populations in the mixed forest have better developmental advantages than the plants in the pure forest community. (4) The niche overlapping indexes of both the mixed and pure forests were not high. The interspecific competition intensity was not strong, and there was a differentiation between the populations. The study suggests that both forest resources are abundant, but the average value of niche overlapping indexes and niche proportional similarity under mixed forest are higher than those in the pure forest. In general, compared with the pure forest, species diversity and the ability of plant species to use resources in the understory herbaceous layer in the mixed forest are higher as well as management mode.

Key words: pure forest, mixed forest, niche width, niche overlap, niche proportional similarity

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