The potential for using rare, native species in reforestation– A case study of yews (Taxaceae) in China

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  • Ditte Arp Jensen
  • Mide Rao, College of Chemistry and Life Science, Zhejiang Normal University, Zhejiang Normal University
  • ,
  • Jian Zhang, Zhejiang Tiantong Forest Ecosystem National Observation and Research Station, East China Normal University
  • ,
  • Mette Grøn, Sino-Danish Center for Education and Research (SDC), University of Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • ,
  • Songyan Tian, Key Laboratory of Forest Ecology and Forestry Ecological Engineering of Heilongjiang Province, Mudanjiang Forest Ecosystem Research Station
  • ,
  • Keping Ma, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • ,
  • Jens Christian Svenning

Ecosystem restoration is regarded as one of the most cost-effective ways of mitigating the effects of the ongoing climate- and anthropogenic changes and slow or revert the loss of biodiversity. Forest restoration has much potential to conserve forest specialist species and ecosystem services, by using multiple, native tree species to promote a high local diversity of trees, with likely positive effects on overall biodiversity and on ecosystem resilience. In this study, we assessed the potential of using two rare, native species of the yew family (Taxaceae) in forest restoration in China. Species of this family are only rarely used in reforestation despite their potential contribution to tree functional diversity as long-lived, shade-tolerant, evergreen understory trees with fleshy seed cones of value to frugivorous animals. By using species distribution modelling methods, we analysed national and local scale occurrence data for Taxus cuspidata and Torreya grandis to determine the climate-based potential ranges as well as important factors for growth on a local scale. The analyses showed that both species have large potential ranges driven mainly by precipitation and by comparing these ranges with the areas that have potential for sustaining forests, we found large areas available for forest restoration where these species could be included. On the local scale, we found that low light levels and low competition from co-occurring trees are more important for the growth of seedlings compared to the adult individuals of both species. If the ecological requirements for seedlings are ensured, i.e. by creating moderately shaded environments in which seedlings can escape competition, both Taxaceae species have high potential for reforestation in China and will increase the ecological qualities of a restored forest, and at the same time, the conservation of rare tree-species in their native ranges is ensured. Conclusively, both Ta. cuspidata and To. grandis are shade-tolerant, slow-growing trees that, by creating an evergreen scrubby layer, add to forest structural complexity and stability, thereby helping support ecosystem services and biodiversity, e.g. microhabitat and resources for birds and other animals.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
Artikelnummer118816
TidsskriftForest Ecology and Management
Vol/bind482
ISSN0378-1127
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 15 feb. 2021

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
Forest Engineering and Environment Institute for invaluable help during the fieldwork in Tianmu and Muling respectively. The data of the Muling 25-ha plot is funded by the Fundamental Research Funds for Heilongjiang Province (2014-2018), and The National Natural Science Foundation of Province (QC2018025). JCS also considers this work a contribution to his VILLUM Investigator project “Biodiversity Dynamics in a Changing World” funded by VILLUM FONDEN (Grant 16549) and his Independent Research Fund Denmark/Natural Sciences TREECHANGE project (Grant 6108-00078B).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier B.V.

Copyright:
Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

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