Classification of Taiwan forest vegetation

Ching-Feng LI1, Milan CHYTRÝ1, David ZELENÝ1, Tze-Ying CHEN2, Chang-Fu HSIEH3
1 Department of Botany and Zoology, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic
2 Department of Nature Resources, National Ilan University, Ilan, Taiwan
3 Institute of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan

We identify the main forest vegetation types in Taiwan, provide their formal definitions, and describe their species composition, habitat affinities and distribution in using 6574 releves from the Taiwan Vegetation Database. Twelve vegetation types of zonal forests and nine types of azonal forests were distinguished. Zonal types in the subtropical region, from high mountains to foothills, are Juniperus subalpine coniferous woodland, Abies-Tsuga upper-montane coniferous forest, Chamaecyparis montane mixed cloud forest, Fagus montane deciduous broad-leaved cloud forest, Quercus montane evergreen broad-leaved cloud forest, Machilus-Castanopsis submontane evergreen broad-leaved forest, Phoebe-Machilus submontane evergreen broad-leaved forest and Ficus-Machilus semi-evergreen foothill forest. Zonal types in the tropical region, from high mountains to foothills, are Pasania-Elaeocarpus montane evergreen broad-leaved cloud forest, Drypetes-Helicia submontane evergreen broad-leaved forest, Dysoxylum-Machilus foothill evergreen broad-leaved forest, and Aglaia-Ficus foothill evergreen broad-leaved forest. Azonal types are Illicium-Cyclobalanopsis tropical winter monsoon forest, Pyrenaria-Machilus subtropical winter monsoon forest, Diospyros-Champereia tropical rock outcrop complex forest, Zelkova-Quercus subtropical rock outcrop complex forest, Pinus successional woodland, Alnus successional woodland, Trema-Mallotus successional woodland, Scaevola-Hibiscus seashore woodland, and Kandelia mangrove. Diversity of forest vegetation in Taiwan is strongly structured by the temperature and moisture gradient. Along the temperature gradient, five altitudinal zones can be recognized. Zonal vegetation contains a higher ratio of endemic and Pacific species and occurs in wetter habitats, while azonal vegetation contains coexisting species from different regions and usually occurs in drier habitats. The units of the resulting classification were formally defined by a Cocktail determinationkey, which can be used for automatic assignment of new vegetation plots to these vegetation types.

© 2012 Organizing Committee