Beta-diversity, or the spatio-temporal variation in community composition, can be partitioned into turnover and nestedness components in a multidimensional framework. Numerous researches have investigated how forest structure drives multidimensional alpha-diversity patterns. However, its role in beta-diversity and its two complementary components remains to be investigated.
In a study published in Ecology and Evolution, researchers from Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) tried to disentangle the effects of forest structure, topography, and spatial structure on multidimensional beta-diversity (i.e., taxonomic, functional, and phylogenetic) and its turnover and nestedness components at local and regional scales in a Chinese subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest.
The researchers used datasets collected from inventory plots a 20-ha forest dynamics plot and a plot network composed of 19 1-ha plots) and both unmanned aerial vehicle light detection and ranging (UAV LiDAR) technology to quantify forest structure across local and regional scales. Adopting multidimensional and multiple-scale perspectives, they used integrated forest structure to explain beta-diversity and its component patterns and then explored the drivers of these patterns.
They found that turnover (i.e., changes in species identities and functional and phylogenetic attributes between sites) were generally more common than loss or gain of species and their functional and phylogenetic attributes (i.e., nestedness), at both the local and regional scales. Compared with the regional scale, there was higher similarity and lower turnover in taxonomic dimension at the local scale. Environmental factors (i.e., topography and forest structure) tended to display stronger spatial autocorrelation at the local scale.
They the joint effects of spatial structure and forest structure influenced component patterns in all dimensions (except for functional turnover) to some extent at the local scale, while pure forest structure influenced taxonomic and phylogenetic nestedness patterns to some extent at the regional scale.
"Our results highlight the importance and scale dependence of forest structure in shaping multidimensional beta-diversity and its component patterns,"said LIN Luxiang of XTBG.
LIN Luxiang Ph.D Principal Investigator
Key Laboratory of Tropical Forest Ecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mengla, Yunnan 666303, China
First Published:24 October 2023