Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 280–295 | Cite as

Diversity patterns and phylogenetic structure of vascular plants along elevational gradients in a mountain ecosystem, South Korea

  • Jung-Hwa Chun
  • Chang-Bae Lee


Recently, a phylogenetic diversity and community structure analysis as complementary to species-centric approaches in biodiversity studies provides new insights into the processes of community assembly. In this study, we analyzed species and phylogenetic diversity and community structures for woody and herbaceous plants along two elevational transects on Mt. Baekhwa, South Korea. The species richness and phylogenetic diversity of woody plants showed monotonic declining patterns with increasing elevation along all transects, whereas herbaceous plants showed different patterns, such as no relationship and a reversed unimodal pattern, between the study transects. The main drivers of these patterns were climate and habitat variables for woody and herbaceous plants, respectively. In addition, the phylogenetic community structure primarily showed phylogenetic clustering regulated by deterministic processes, especially environmental filtering, such as climate or habitat factors, along the two transects, although herbaceous plants along a transect depicted phylogenetic randomness as a result of a neutral process. Our findings suggest that deterministic and neutral processes may simultaneously control the community structures along small-scale elevational gradients such as local transects, although the deterministic process may be the predominant type.


Community structure Deterministic process Elevational gradient Neutral process Phylogenetic diversity Species richness 


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We thank Mr. Hyo-Hyun Ahn and Mr. Sung- Yeol Cho for their invaluable help during the fieldwork and the data analysis in this study. We are also thankful to Dr. Hyun-Je Cho and Dr. Joon- Hwan Shin for their support and encouragement. This paper forms a part of the Korea Big Tree Project funded by the Korea Green Promotion Agency, Korea Forest Service.

Supplementary material

11629_2017_4477_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (359 kb)
Changes in vegetation and soil properties during recovery of a subtropical forest in South China


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Forest EcologyNational Institute of Forest ScienceDongdaemungu, SeoulRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Global Resources DivisionKorea Forestry Promotion InstituteGangseogu, SeoulRepublic of Korea

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