Annals of Forest Science

, 75:97 | Cite as

Biomass-dominant species shape the productivity-diversity relationship in two temperate forests

  • Yanxia Cheng
  • Chunyu ZhangEmail author
  • Xiuhai Zhao
  • Klaus von Gadow
Research Paper


Key message

A negative productivity-diversity relationship was determined for biomass-dominant species at the community level. This study thus supports the hypothesis in which the effects of individual species on the productivity-diversity relationships at the community level are related to their biomass density, an important functional trait.


The productivity-diversity relationships have been extensively studied in various forest ecosystems, but key mechanisms underlying the productivity-diversity relationships still remain controversial.


The objective of this study is to explore the productivity-diversity relationships at the community level, and to investigate the roles of individual species in shaping the community-level relationships between productivity and diversity under different forest types.


The study was conducted in two fully stem-mapped temperate mixed forest plots in Northeastern China: a natural secondary forest plot, and an old-growth forest plot. An individual-based study framework was used to estimate the productivity-diversity relationships at both species and community levels. A homogeneous Thomas point process was used to evaluate the significance of productivity-diversity relationship deviating from the neutral.


At the species level, most of the studied species exhibit neutral productivity-diversity relationship in both forest plots. The percentage of species showing negative productivity-diversity relationship approaches linearly a peak value for very close neighborhoods (the secondary forest plot: r = 3 m, 38%; the old-growth forest plot: r = 4 m, 42%), and then decreases gradually with increasing spatial scale. Interestingly, only a few species displayed positive productivity-diversity relationship within their neighborhoods. Dominant species mainly exhibit negative productivity-diversity relationship while tree species with lower importance values exhibit neutral productivity-diversity relationship in both forests. At the community level, a consistent pattern of productivity-diversity relationship was observed in both forests, where tree productivity is significantly negatively associated with local species richness. Four biomass-dominant species (Juglans mandshurica Maxim., Acer mono Maxim.,Ulmus macrocarpa Hance and Acer mandshuricum Maxim.) determined a negative productivity-diversity relationship at the community level in the secondary forest plot, but only one species (Juglans mandshurica) in the old-growth forest plot.


The productivity-diversity relationship is closely related to the dominance of individual species at the species level. Moreover, this analysis is the first to report the roles of biomass-dominant species in shaping the productivity-diversity relationship at the community level.


Productivity-diversity relationship Species dominance Individual species Homogeneous Thomas point process 


Funding information

This research is supported by the Key Project of National Key Research and Development Plan (2017YFC0504104) and the Program of National Natural Science Foundation of China (31670643).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

13595_2018_780_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.7 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 1758 kb)


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Copyright information

© INRA and Springer-Verlag France SAS, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Center of Forest Management Engineering of State Forestry and Grassland AdministrationBeijing Forestry UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Faculty of Forestry and Forest EcologyGeorg-August-University GöttingenGöttingenGermany
  3. 3.Department of Forest and Wood ScienceUniversity of StellenboschStellenboschSouth Africa

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