Lianas contribute substantially to diversity and function of ecosystems. However, there is lack of knowledge about the effects of soil variables on liana taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic beta diversity in savanna ecosystem.
In a study published in Applied Vegetation Science, researchers from Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) investigated the factors structuring liana taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic beta diversity in a dry-hot valley savanna ecosystem in Yunnan Province, Southwest China.
The study was conducted at the Yuanjiang Savanna Ecosystem Research Station (23°27？56" N, 102°10？40" E, altitude 481 m) of XTBG.
The researchers established 30 plots of 20×20 m in the savanna to collect data on the distribution of 22 liana species, 19 functional traits, and plot‐level soil nutrients, elevation, and slope.
The researchers quantified liana taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic beta diversity and decomposed their variation at a local scale for inferring mechanisms governing liana community assembly in a dry-hot valley savanna ecosystem in SW China. They also tested which environmental factors influence the beta diversity of liana community using permutational multivariate analysis of variance.
They found that environmental filtering and spatial processes jointly shaped liana beta diversity in taxonomic, functional, and phylogenetic dimensions. Environmental factors, such as soil pH, total nitrogen (N), available potassium (K), and slope were significantly correlated with three liana beta diversities.
Moreover, spatial distance explained more variation in taxonomic beta diversity than environmental factors. The functional and phylogenetic diversities were more strongly subject to environmental filtering.
“We suggest consider both spatial and environmental variables when selecting protected areas to conserve liana diversity from three beta diversity dimensions,” said Prof. ZHANG Jiaolin, principal investigator of the study.
ZHANG Jiaolin Ph.D Principal Investigator Key Laboratory of Tropical Forest Ecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mengla, Yunnan 666303, China