Tree species composition and diversity of tropical mountain cloud forest in the Yunnan, southwestern China


J Shi
H Zhu

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Ecological Research


Species composition, physiognomy, and plant diversity of the less known cloud forests in Yunnan were studied based on data collected from 35 sample plots at seven sites. In floristic composition, the cloud forests are mainly comprised of Fagaceae, Ericaceae, Vacciniaceae, Aceraceae, Magnoliaceae, Theaceae, Aquifoliaceae, Illiciaceae, Lauraceae, and Rosaceae. Physiognomically, the forests are dominated by tree and shrub species. Lianas are rare in the forests. The plants with microphyllous or nanophyllous leaves comprise 44.32–63.46% of the total species, and plants with an entire leaf margin account for more than 50% of the tree and shrub species. There are few tree and shrub species with a drip tip leaf apex and papery leaves. Evergreen species make up more than 75% of the total tree and shrub species. In a 2,500 m2 sampling area, the number of vascular species ranged between 57 and 110; Simpson’s diversity index ranged from 0.7719 to 0.9544, Shannon–Winner’s diversity index from 1.8251 to 3.2905, and Pielou’s evenness index from 0.5836 to 0.8982 for trees. The cloud forests in Yunnan are physiognomically similar to the tropical cloud forests in America and Southeast Asia. They very much resemble the mountain dwarf mossy forest in Hainan Island, southeastern China, and the Mountain ericaceous forests in the Malay Peninsula. The cloud forests in Yunnan are considered to be developed, as are the tropical upper montane cloud forests in Asia.