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Journal of Arid Land  2015, Vol. 7 Issue (3): 370-380    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-015-0123-z
Research Articles     
Effects of microtopography on spatial point pattern of forest stands on the semi-arid Loess Plateau, China
WeiJun ZHAO1,2, Yan ZHANG2, QingKe ZHU2*, Wei QIN3, ShuZhen PENG1, Ping LI4, YanMin ZHAO2, Huan MA2, Yu WANG2
1 Key Laboratory of Tourist Resources and Environment in Colleges and Universities of Shandong Province, Taishan University, Tai’an 271021, China;
2 Forestry Ecological Engineering Research Center (Ministry of Education), Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China;
3 Department of Sedimentation, China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, Beijing 100044, China;
4 Key Laboratory of Forest Ecology and Environment of State Forestry Administration, Institute of Forest Ecology, Environment and Protection, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091, China
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Abstract  Microtopography may affect the distribution of forests through its effect on rain redistribution and soil water distribution on the semi-arid Loess Plateau, China. In this study, we investigated the characteristics of mi-crotopography on two shady slopes (slope A, 5 hm2, uniform slope; slope B, 5 hm2, microtopography slope) and surveyed the height, the diameter at breast height and the location (x, y coordinates) of all selected individual trees (Robinia pseudoacacia Linn., Pyrus betulifolia Bunge, Populus hopeiensis Hu & Chow, Armeniaca sibirica Lam., Populus simonii Carr. and Ulmus pumila Linn.) on slope A and slope B in the watersheds of Wuqi county, Shaanxi province. Subsequently, the effects of microtopography on the spatial pattern of forest stands were analyzed using Ripley’s K(r) function. The results showed that: (1) The maximal aggregation radiuses of the tree species on the uniform slope (slope A) were larger than 40 m, whereas those of the tree species on the microtopography slope (slope B) were smaller than 30 m. (2) On slope B, the spatial association of R. pseudoacacia with P. betulifolia, A. sibirica, P. simonii and U. pumila varied from being strongly negative to positive at microtopography scales. The spatial association of Populus hopeiensis Hu & Chow with U. pumila also varied from being strongly negative to positive at microtopography scales. However, there was no spatial association between P. betulifolia and P. hopeiensis, P. betulifolia and A. sibirica, P. betulifolia and P. simonii, P. betulifolia and U. pumila, P. hopeiensis and A. sibirica, P. hopeiensis and P. simonii, A. sibirica and P. simonii, A. sibirica and U. pumila, and P. simonii and U. pumila. On slope A, the spatial association between tree species were strongly negative. The results suggest that microtopography may shape tree distribution patterns on the semi-arid Loess Plateau.

Received: 04 April 2014      Published: 05 February 2015

The study was financially supported by China National Scientific and Technical Innovation Research Project for 12th Five Year Plan (2011BAD38B0601), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41472313) and the Natural Science Foundation of Shandong Province (ZR2011DM012, ZR2014DL002).

Cite this article:

WeiJun ZHAO, Yan ZHANG, QingKe ZHU, Wei QIN, ShuZhen PENG, Ping LI, YanMin ZHAO, Huan MA, Yu WANG. Effects of microtopography on spatial point pattern of forest stands on the semi-arid Loess Plateau, China. Journal of Arid Land, 2015, 7(3): 370-380.

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