The classification of high-mountain coniferous forests vegetation in Taiwan

Cheng-Tao LIN1, Ching-Feng LI2, David ZELENÝ2, Milan CHYTRÝ2 & Chyi-Rong CHIOU1
1 School of Forestry and Resource Conservation, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan
2 Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic

The coniferous forests over the boreal zone and mountainous areas of northern hemisphere were well studied in the past centuries, but studies of similar coniferous forests in subtropical high mountains are still have limited. The purpose of this study usesa national phytosociological database to classify the high-mountain coniferous forests and then to discuss whether these vegetation units belong to Vaccinio-Piceetea. We used the relevés from the database of National Vegetation Diversity Inventory and Mapping Project to establish the vegetation units and characterise their distribution and environmental variables. Cluster analysis was used to classify vegetation units, while ordination analysis, such as principal component analysis, was also used to distinguish important environmental variables. An identification key based on classification tree was also developed to identify these vegetation units in the field. The results show that site aspect, elevation and soil rockiness and inclination were most important variables related to species composition. Two alliances and nine associations were established in the high-mountain regions from 2500-3800 m a.s.l. Juniperion squamatae represents the woodlands and forests dominated by Juniperus squamata in canopy layer with subalpine meadow species in understorey scattered in subalpine belt, while Abieti kawakamii-Tsugion formosanae represents the forests dominated by Abies kawakamii and Tsuga chinensis var. formosana in the canopy layer with shade-tolerant herb species in the upper montane belt.

© 2012 Organizing Committee