Structure and dynamics of subalpine forests in the Wang Lang Natural Reserve, Sichuan, China

Alan H. Taylor, Qin Zisheng, Liu Jie

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63 Scopus citations


Population structure (size, age, spatial patterns) and radial growth patterns are used to analyze regeneration patterns of Abies faxoniana, Betula albosinensis, Betula utilis, Larix potaninii, Picea purpurea, and Sabina saltuaria and reconstruct disturbance history in 8 subalpine forest stands in Wang Lang Natural Reserve, Sichuan, China. In old-growth stands tree regeneration occurs in tree-fall gaps whereby A. faxoniana, Betula sp., P. purpurea, and S. saltuaria persist at stand scales by gap-phase regeneration. Clump sizes of young populations are similar to canopy gap sizes but clumps sizes vary among species. Young Betula patches are larger than those of A. faxoniana suggesting that gap-partitioning by size contributes to species coexistence in mixed stands. Picea purpurea and S. saltuaria are longer lived than A. faxoniana which may compensate for lower recruitment and prevent their replacement by A. faxoniana. Tree regeneration and community structure are also influenced by the understory bamboo Fargesia denudata. Seedlings, saplings, and shrub density all decline with an increase in bamboo cover. Species that regenerate in old-growth forest also regenerate after flooding as do species that establish only on bare substrates (i.e. Larix potaninii, Prunus sp.). Structural and compositional patterns in Wang Lang forests are a reflection of disturbance history, canopy species life history attributes such as dispersal ability, shade tolerance, growth rates, and longevity, and competition of trees and shrubs with understory bamboos.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-38
Number of pages14
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Plant Science


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