Diversity and distribution of high-mountain meadows across elevation gradient in Wutai Mts. [North China]
The Wutai Mountain Meadow Reserve, located at 112°50’–113°50’E, 38°30’–39°15’N, conserves the typical highmountain meadows in North China. Eighty one plots (quadrates 2 m × 2 m ) in 11 transects separated by 100 meters in altitude along an elevation gradient (2 000–3 058 m a.s.l.) were established. Species composition of plants, their abundance, coverage and height in each plot were measured and recorded. The environmental variable like slope, slope orientation, soil type, air temperature and humidity (yearly average values) were assessed. The multivariate analysis methods, TWINSPAN for classification, and DCA and CCA for ordination, were used to analyze the relationships between meadow communities and environmental variables. The results showed that there are eight types of mountain meadow vegetation in the reserve. The distribution of meadow communities is related to elevation, slope, slope orientation, and soil-water conditions. The changes of species diversity (H’ = 1.5–2.5 ) in communities are mainly related to elevation gradient, and also related to community coverage, slope and slope orientation.
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