ForestGEO welcomes Ailaoshan plot to network
ForestGEO is pleased to welcome the Ailaoshan Forest Dynamics Plot to the network! Ailaoshan is a 20-ha, mid-mountain, moist, evergreen, broad-leaved forest plot in the Yunnan Province of China.
ForestGEO is pleased to welcome the Ailaoshan Forest Dynamics Plot to the network! Ailaoshan is a 20-ha, mid-mountain, moist, evergreen, broad-leaved forest plot in the Yunnan Province of China. Although Ailaoshan is new to ForestGEO, Cao Min, its PI, is not. He has been the PI of Xishuangbanna since its inception in 2007.
At Ailaoshan, Cao Min and his team have conducted two censuses of all free-standing stems with a dbh ≥ 1cm. The censuses were a collaborative effort between the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden’s Forest Ecology Group and the Ailaoshan Station for Subtropical Forest Ecosystem Studies. The first census took place in 2014, the second in 2019. In total, there are 104 species represented in 44,168 stems. The dominant species hail from the Fagaceae, Theaceae, and Lauraceae families.
Although evergreen, broad-leaved forests are typical in subtropical climates, Ailaoshan is unique in that it is still contiguous forest. Evergreen, broad-leaved forests alone (to say nothing of other forest types, such as temperate and alpine forests) used to cover roughly 25% of China’s land area, but, over time, this area has diminished and become fragmented. Cao Min says, “We can only find some remnants [of evergreen, broad-leaved forests] around temples and mountains isolated and remote from urban areas, but Ailaoshan is one of those rarities continuously covering a relatively large area in western China.”
To date researchers have authored five articles that used data from the Ailaoshan FDP. Topics have ranged from the impact of snow damage on canopy crowns to the spatial distribution of rare and common species.
The addition of Ailaoshan increases representation of western-China’s subtropical, evergreen, broad-leaved forests within the ForestGEO network, which now includes 70 sites in 27 countries. It also serves as a new opportunity for collaboration. Cao Min says, “This plot is an open facility for the international cooperation on biodiversity and ecosystem research; we encourage international scientists and students interested in this field (including those affiliated with ForestGEO) to work with us together and to reveal the response of the forest to the local environmental change in the future.”