Quantitative classification and ordination for plant communities in dry valleys of Southwest China

Ye Liu1 Peng Li2 Yue Xu2 Songlin Shi3 Lingxiao Ying2 Wanjun Zhang2 Peihao Peng4 Zehao Shen2

(1.School of Urban Planning and Design, Shenzhen Graduate School, Peking University, Shenzhen 518055)
(2.Department of Ecology, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, the Key Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes of the Ministry of Education, Peking University, Beijing 100871)
(3.State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085)
(4.College of Tourism and Urban-rural Planning, Chengdu University of Technology, Chengdu 610058)

【Abstract】The vegetation in dry valleys of Southwest China is characterized by unique vegetation type. Based on plant community sample data (1 339 plots) collected for 9 valleys in Gansu, Sichuan and Yunnan provinces, we used an adaptive affinity propagation method for quantitative classification, and performed an ordination using canonical correspondence analysis. Results showed that the plant communities can be divided into 7 vegetation types (savanna, succulent thicket, evergreen broadleaved thicket, warm deciduous broadleaved thicket, evergreen sclerophyllous forest, deciduous broadleaved forest, warm needle-leaved forest with 24 formations and 31 associations. The most representative vegetation type was the warm deciduous broadleaved thicket, while the most common formations were Form. Bauhinia brachycarpa (50.9%), Form. Heteropogon contortus (11.9%), Form. Bothriochloa pertusa (5.6%), Form. Vitex negundo (4.2%), Form. Eragrostis ferruginea (3.8%), Form. Dodonaea viscosa (3.4%) and Form. Pinus yunnanensis (3.3%). Mean temperature of the coldest month and precipitation seasonality are two dominant climatic factors, which limit the distribution of plant community types in the dry valleys. Savanna and succulent thicket are the dominant vegetation types in typical dry-hot valleys. Dry-warm valley are dominated by warm deciduous broadleaved thicket, evergreen sclerophyllous forest and evergreen broadleaved thicket. Warm needle-leaved forest and deciduous broadleaved forest are more adaptive to lower temperatures.

【Keywords】 dry valleys of Southwest China; vegetation classification and ordination; adaptive-affinity propagation; canonical correspondence analysis; vegetation division; climate response;


【Funds】 National Natural Science Foundation of China (41371190) The Science and Technology Project on Transportation Construction in the West Region by the Ministry of Communications (200831879917)

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This Article



Vol 24, No. 04, Pages 378-388

April 2016


Article Outline



  • 1 Materials and methods
  • 2 Results
  • 3 Discussions
  • Supplementary Material
  • References