DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2009.09253

Biodiversity Science (生物多样性) 2009/17:6 PP.533-548

Methods and protocols for plant community inventory

A plant community is an assemblage of plant populations that live in certain area, and interact with and adapt to one another in the context of long-term environmental changes. Plant communities maintain global ecosystem functions, and provide food and habitats for animals and other organisms. Plant communities also provide primary resources for human survival and development, and are therefore indispensable to human societies. China is among the countries with the most diverse plant communities in the world. However, no systematic national inventory has been conducted for Chinese plant communities. This fact obstructs exploitation and protection of China's plant resources, and also hampers the development of the fields of Chinese ecology and geography. There is an urgent need to survey Chinese plant communities using consistent methods and protocols. In this paper, we review major concepts in plant community ecology, and propose a framework for developing plant community inventories based on recent progress in community ecology and our own experience with long-term field surveys. Our framework provides protocols for site selection and plot design, items to be measured in a plot, and measurements of functional traits of dominant species. We also review protocols for field surveys of large, long-term plots. The protocols proposed in this paper are expected to be a base for standardizing methodology for inventory of Chinese plant communities.

Key words:plant community,plot design,community attribute,importance of species,ecological traits

ReleaseDate:2015-03-12 14:28:03

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