Impacts of geo-physical factors and human disturbance on composition and diversity of roadside vegetation: A case study from Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve of Southwest China
We examined vegetation-disturbance-environment relationships in the Xiaomengyang Section of Xishuangbanna Nature Reserve (XNR) using multivariate analysis to understand the impacts of geo-physical factors and human disturbance on vegetation along the highway corridor. We found that native forests were the best habitat for protected/endangered species and native species. The exotic plants Eupatorium odoratum and Eupatorium adenophora were found primarily in secondary forests and their presence was positively associated with altitude and soil potassium concentrations. The distribution of two protected plants, Phoebe nanmu and Pometia tomentosa, was negatively associated with road disturbance. Species richness was correlated with environmental factors but not related to historical land use and road disturbance. Understanding the complex effects of geo-physical factors and anthropogenic disturbance is important for developing and implementing conservation strategies for the protection and restoration of biological diversity and the integrity of roadside ecosystems.
Key words: Vegetation composition, species diversity, gradient analysis, environmental controls, road construction, nature reserve.