J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2005, Vol. 47 ›› Issue (5): -.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2005.00026.x

• Research Articles •    

Community Characteristics of Early Recovery Vegetation on Abandoned Lands of Shifting Cultivation in Bawangling of Hainan Island, South China

Yi DING,Run-Guo ZANG   

Abstract: Shifting cultivation is a major form of agricultural practice in most parts of tropical regions worldwide. In places where the bush fallow period is excessively shortened or the period of cultivation is extended for too long, the rate of vegetation recovery and biodiversity on abandoned lands of shifting cultivation would decline. The recovery of the secondary plant communities could even be inhibited for a prolonged period because of grass occupancy. Because of the vital significance of the early recovery communities to secondary succession, we studied the community characteristics of early recovery vegetation on abandoned lands of shifting cultivation in Bawangling of Hainan Island. Measurements were made of the community composition and structure of early recovery vegetation. The sprouting abilities of different functional groups and different species in the same functional group, and the effect of the grass functional group on the composition and quantitative characteristics of tree and shrub functional groups were analyzed. Results indicated that only a few families, genera, or species apparently dominated in the early recovery vegetation on the abandoned lands of shifting cultivation and that deciduous species occurred with a rather high percentage in this early recovery community compared with the natural secondary or old growth forests. Small-sized individuals dominated the woody community. The abundance and basal area of sprouting stems for species in the tree functional group were greater than those of seeder stems, whereas the abundance and basal area of resprouters and seeders for species in the shrub functional group did not differ. The total abundance of stems for the community, stem abundances for species in tree or shrub functional groups, and for seeder or resprouter stems were all negatively correlated with coverage of the grass functional group. The mean sprouting ability in the tree functional group was greater than in the shrub functional group. The sprouting ability for different species in the same functional group was also significantly different.

Key words: early recovery vegetation, functional groups, regeneration mode, shifting cultivation, sprouting ability, tropical forest.

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