Research Paper

Forest and population characteristics of vulnerable relict Pseudotsuga sinensis in southwestern China

Cindy Q. Tang, Jian-Ran Wen, Peng-Bin Han, Shi-Qian Yao, Min-Rui Du, Shuaifeng Li, Jia-Le Zeng, Y.-C. Shi, M.-C. Peng, C.-Y. Wang, Tetsuya Matsui, Yong-Ping Li, Jun Li, Gui-Hong Sun, Guang-Lin Tao

Published on: 07 November 2023

Page: 439 - 450

DOI: 10.6165/tai.2023.68.439


Pseudotsuga sinensis, a vulnerable relict coniferous tree species, faces threats from overexploitation and habitat loss. Despite its status, the forest types, community structure, and population characteristics of this species in China have remained largely unknown. In our study, we conducted analyses of 69 vegetation plots where P. sinensis was the dominant species in southwestern China. We identified five forest types, i.e., Type 1: Pseudotsuga sinensis evergreen coniferous forest; Type 2: Pseudotsuga sinensis - Pinus yunnanensis evergreen coniferous forest; Type 3: Pseudotsuga sinensis - Cyclobalanopsis glaucoides evergreen coniferous and broad-leaved mixed forest; Type 4: Pseudotsuga sinensis - Platycarya strobilacea evergreen coniferous and deciduous broad-leaved mixed forest; Type 5: Pseudotsuga sinensis - Calocedrus macrolepis evergreen coniferous forest. These forests exhibited a multilayered vertical structure. The Simpson diversity index ranged between 0.58-0.86, while the Shannon-Wiener diversity index ranged from 1.24 to 2.3. P. sinensis trees’ average growth rate of ring width decreased from 5.86 to 0.33 mm/year as increasing ages. Observed maximum age of P. sinensis was 115 years with 78 cm diameter at the breast height. Age frequency distribution of P. sinensis was multimodal. There was a great lack of individuals at 0-20 years old. Forests with moderate disturbance showed a significantly higher number of P. sinensis individuals younger than 30 years compared to areas with no, slight, or severe disturbance. P. sinensis’ regeneration depends on moderate disturbance. We recommended delineating buffer zones in the protected areas at certain sites and in such zones can be allowed to sustainable firewood cutting by selectively marked species other than P. sinensis.

Keyword: Age structure, forest characteristics, growth patterns, Pseudotsuga sinensis, regeneration, species diversity

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