J Plant Ecol ›› 2022, Vol. 15 ›› Issue (4): 829-843 .DOI: 10.1093/jpe/rtab117

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Forest characteristics and population structure of a threatened palm tree Caryota obtusa in the karst forest ecosystem of Yunnan, China

Cindy Q. Tang1, *, Xia Lu1, Min-Rui Du1, Shu-Li Xiao1, Shuaifeng Li2, Peng-Bin Han1, Jia-Le Zeng1, Jian-Ran Wen1, Shi-Qian Yao1, You-Cai Shi1, Yun-Fang Li3, *, Ming-Chun Peng1, Chong-Yun Wang1 and Zhi-Ying Zhang1   

  1. 1 Institute of Ecology and Geobotany, College of Ecology and Environmental Science, Yunnan University, Kunming 650504, China, 2 Research Institute on Resource Insects, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Kunming 650224, China, 3 Management Offce of Yunlong Tianchi National Nature Reserve, Guolang, Dali Prefecture, Yunnan 672700, China

    *Corresponding author. E-mail: cindytang@ynu.edu.cn (C.Q.T.); 974016458@qq.com (Y.-F.L.)
  • Received:2021-06-21 Revised:2021-08-07 Accepted:2021-10-31 Online:2021-12-09 Published:2022-08-01


Caryota obtusa of Arecaceae is a fascinating palm tree native to southwestern China, India, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. It is an economically important and threatened species and appears as a canopy dominant in some karst areas in Yunnan. We aim to clarify the forest structure, species diversity, population status and regeneration dynamics of C. obtusa in the karst forest ecosystem of Yunnan, China. We established 56 vegetation plots dominated by C. obtusa in 10 counties of southern Yunnan. Based on the plot data, we analyzed the community stratification, floristic composition and C. obtusa’s population structure. We used questionnaires to interview local people and recorded the human activity history in C. obtusa-dominated forests. Caryota obtusa palm forests were distributed on limestone mountain slopes and gullies. There were seven forest community types. The stratification of each community included arborous layer, shrub layer and understory. The communities had rich species composition. For all the plots as a whole of each community type, Shannon–Wiener diversity index of either woody or herbaceous species ranged from 2.1 to 3.8. The diameter at breast height (DBH)-class frequency distribution of C. obtusa was a multimodal type. The regeneration was sporadic and dependent on intermediate natural disturbances. In the current population structure, a number of C. obtusa trees with small DBHs consisted mainly of the forest communities with no or a slight degree of human disturbances. Intensive human activities terribly hindered recruitment of C. obtuse, followed by the medium intensity of human activities.

Key words: Caryota obtusa, community structure, species diversity, population structure, regeneration dynamics, human disturbance

别具魅力的董棕(Caryota obtusa)属于棕榈科(Arecaceae)的树种,在中国西南地区、印度、缅甸、泰国、老挝和越南有自然分布。董棕是一个具有重要经济价值且受到人为活动威胁的物种,其在云南的一些石灰岩山地乔木层占据优势。本研究的目的是阐明在云南石灰岩山地森林生态系统中董棕的群落结构、物种多样性、种群现状及其更新动态。为了全面深入的调查董棕群落,我们在云南南部10个县设置56个样方。根据样方数据,我们分析了群落的垂直结构、物种组成和种群结构,并对当地村民进行问卷采访记录了长期以来人为活动对董棕林的干扰情况。研究结果表明,董棕棕榈林分布在石灰岩山坡和沟谷,有7个群落类型。每个群落的垂直结构明显,分为乔木层、灌木层和林床。群落物种组成丰富,各群落类型的木本物种和草本物种的香农-维纳多样性指数均在2.1–3.8。董棕在胸径级上的分布为多峰型,属间歇性更新,且依赖于一定的自然干扰,董棕小树主要在无人为干扰或人为干扰小的群落中出现,重度人为干扰严重地阻碍了董棕的更新,其次的中度人为干扰也给董棕的更新带来了一定的困难。

关键词: 董棕(Caryota obtusa), 群落结构, 物种多样性, 种群结构, 更新动态, 人为干扰