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Wuling Mountains Act as the Corridor for Woody Species Exchange

2022-05-10

Wuling Mountains are a series of mountains with high habitat complexity and species diversity, connecting not only the northern subtropics to the mid-subtropics, but also the floras of Eastern and South-Western China. However, the previous studies were limited to the certain families or genera examination, the distributions of all woody plant species were not analyzed.

Using the detailed distribution data for woody plant species in China, the researchers from Vegetation Ecology Group of Wuhan Botanical Garden and Department of Ecology, Peking University have quantitatively evaluated spatial patterns in diversity in Wuling Mountains and the adjacent regions (a total of 820,000 km2) to provide an overview of inter-regional species relationships.

The study area was divided into six regions based on community compositions, including three mountainous regions (Wuling Mountains Region, Qinling-Dabashan Mountains Region and Nanling-Xuefengshan Mountains Region), one plain (Yangtze Plain Region), one basin (Sichuan Basin Region), and one plateau (Yungui Plateau Region).

Results found that plant species diversity was higher in mountainous areas than on the plains or in the basins, and species similarity was significantly higher latitudinally vs. longitudinally in Wuling Mountains, indicating the Wuling Mountains’ corridor role for woody species exchange between Northern and Southern China.

It highlights the importance of Wuling Mountains as an ecological corridor. It is of great importance to maintain the ecological integrity of forests and strengthen biodiversity protections in Wuling to ensure long-term species conservation in Central China.

The relevant results were titled as "Wuling Mountains Function as a Corridor for Woody Plant Species Exchange Between Northern and Southern Central China" and published in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.


Spatial patterns in β-diversity at different scales and for different directions. (A, C, E, G) Represent longitudinal directional β-diversity at 50, 100, 150, and 200 km respectively; (B, D, F, H) represents latitudinal β-diversity at 50, 100, 150, and 200 km respectively (Image by WBG)

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