Effects of Human Disturbance on Mountain Vegetation Communities
Wang Jian Cheng, Chi Jian Cai1, Pan Bo Rong*
Key Laboratory of Biogeography and Bioresource in Arid Land, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi, 830011, P.R. China
1Kuerdening Township, Gongliu County, Gongliu, 835401, P.R. China
*Corresponding author E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The changes in species diversity follow-ing disturbance can give us insights into the pro-cesses governing the assembly and coexistence of species. In this study, we investigate different grassland community and calculate measures of taxonomic diversity, phylogenetic diversity, trait diversity within communities and among com-munities. The results showed disturbed plots have lower values in terms of their taxonomic, phylogenetic, and functional trait diversity. This suggests that disturbance acts as a filter by cre-ating a harsh environment that selects for spe-cies. NMDS ordination also supported the pat-tern that the two habitat types differ in their species composition. In addition, variation in ordination scores was larger in disturbed plots than undisturbed plots. This was mainly due to different type and extent of disturbance. Further-more, disturbance weakened the strength of competition in communities by reducing the number of species and thus freeing resources, which provides the opportunity for immigration of alien species. It was also not difficult to get recruitment for disturbed communities from neighboring communities. Thus this disturbance of patchiness did not produce significant harm for mountain communities.