Abstract

Taihang Mountains is located on the eastern edge of the second step of Chinese topography, which is the natural boundary between Loess Plateau and North China Plain and is considered as one of the important priority areas for biodiversity conservation in China. We took 108 counties involved in the generalized Taihang Mountains as the research area to systematically analyze the characteristics of family and genus characters, floristic composition, geographical pattern of plant diversity and species richness hotspots at community level of mountain forests in Taihang Mountains. A total of 963 species of seed plants belonging to 447 genera and 100 families were recorded in 778 forest plots in Taihang Mountains. Within all the species, 12 species of gymnosperms belonging to 7 genera of 3 families, 951 species of angiosperms belonging to 440 genera of 97 families. Herbaceous plants (71.1%) was the dominant life form. The distribution types of families were mainly tropical (38%) and temperate (24%), and the distribution types of genera were mainly temperate (68.7%). The horizontal distribution pattern of plant diversity showed a trend of increasing from southwest to northeast. Species richness was positively correlated with the latitude and longitude. However, the richness patterns of different life-form plants were different, in that herbaceous richness was positively correlated with the longitude and latitude but that of woody plants was not. In the vertical gradient, plant richness of Taihang Mountains presented a single-peak distribution, which was concentrated in the low and middle elevations of 400-1800 m and peaked at 1000-1200 m. Based on the community inventory data, we mapped plant richness of Taihang Mountain forest community. The mountain areas such as Xiaowutai Mountain, Yuntai Mountain, Taiyue Mountain, Wangwu Mountain and Zhongtiao Mountain were identified as hotspots of plant richness, which should be included in the key planning and management areas of the Taihang Mountains priority protection.

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