Differential responses of forest strata species richness to paleoclimate and forest structure

Wang, Shuyue and Jimenez-Alfaro, Borja and Pan, Shaoan and Yu, Jinghua and Sanaei, Anvar and Sayer, Emma and Ye, Ji and Hao, Zhanqing and Fang, Shuai and Lin, Fei and Yuan, Zuoqiang and Wang, Xugao (2021) Differential responses of forest strata species richness to paleoclimate and forest structure. Forest Ecology and Management, 499: 119605. ISSN 0378-1127

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Regional factors, such as historical and contemporary climate conditions, and local factors, such as vegetation structural attributes, can influence current patterns of plant species richness but their relative roles remain unknown, particularly across forest strata. Here, we used a multi-scale survey of temperate forest plots across a large region of Northeast China to explore the relative importance of environmental factors (paleoclimate, contemporary climate, topography and anthropogenic disturbance) and forest structural attributes (stem abundance, stand basal area and tree size variation) on tree, shrub, and herb species richness. Although environmental and forest structural factors all played a role in explaining plant species richness patterns, their relative roles varied in direction and magnitude depending on forest stratum. Tree species richness increased with the magnitude of change in temperature since the Last Glacial Maximum (AnomalyMAT) but declined with increasing magnitude of change in precipitation (AnomalyMAP). By contrast, herb species richness declined with increasing AnomalyMAT but increased with AnomalyMAP, highlighting contrasting processes for tree and herb species richness driven by paleoclimate. Contemporary climate played a lesser role in explaining species richness, but tree species richness increased with diurnal temperature range, shrub species richness increased with the climatic moisture index, and herb species richness increased with both climatic variables. Herb species richness also increased with disturbance intensity, whereas tree and shrub richness declined. Overall, plant species richness increased significantly with all forest structural attributes, except for stem abundance, which had a negative effect on herb species richness, and forest structure mediated the linkages between plant species richness and disturbance or climate. The pronounced influence of paleoclimate on forest plant species richness highlights the potential threat of current climate change for forest diversity. Together, simultaneous consideration of past and current climate as well as forest structural attributes could improve our understanding of the complex mechanisms shaping patterns of plant species richness across forest strata.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Forest Ecology and Management
Additional Information:
This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Forest Ecology and Management. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Forest Ecology and Management, 499, 2021 DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2021.119605
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? anthropogenic disturbanceforest strataforest structural attributespaleoclimateplant species richnesstemperate forestnature and landscape conservationforestrymanagement, monitoring, policy and law ??
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Deposited On:
16 Aug 2021 09:10
Last Modified:
12 Feb 2024 00:41