Evolution and maintenance mechanisms of plant diversity in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and adjacent regions: retrospect and prospect

LIU Jie1 LUO Yahuang1 LI Dezhu2 Gao Lianming 1

(1.Key Laboratory for Plant Diversity and Biogeography of East Asia, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650201)
(2.Germplasm Bank of Wild Species in Southwest China, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650201)

【Abstract】The evolution and maintenance of biodiversity is largely determined by the interaction of genetics and environmental factors. Geological and climatic history, which play pivotal roles in the evolution and maintenance of plant diversity in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP) and adjacent regions, are the most important environmental aspects. We review the major effects of QTP environmental changes associated with geological uplift, Asian monsoon evolution, and Pleistocene climatic oscillation on the origin, evolution, population demography, and maintenance mechanisms of plant diversity in the QTP and adjacent regions across spatiotemporal scales. Furthermore, we summarize the current progress and knowledge gaps on mechanisms of diversification and maintenance of plant diversity, and outline the effect of climate change on plant genetic diversity, hybrid zone dynamics, plant diversity patterns, the effect of Asian Monsoon evolution on plant diversity maintenance, and mechanisms of community assembly, the five additional future research hotspots.

【Keywords】 climate change; hybridization; plant diversity; population demography; Qinghai-Tibet Plateau;


【Funds】 National Special Science Research Program of China (2014CB954100) National Natural Science Foundation of China (41571059) National Scholarship for Studying Abroad (201504910423)

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This Article



Vol 25, No. 02, Pages 163-174

February 2017


Article Outline


  • 1 Plateau uplift and coupled environmental changes lead to plant diversification
  • 2 Diversification and maintenance of species distribution pattern since the Pleistocene
  • 3 Research prospects
  • References