About BEF-China

The role of tree and shrub diversity for production, erosion control, element cycling, and species conservation in Chinese subtropical forest ecosystems

In 2009 and 2010, the joint Chinese-German-Swiss research project “BEF China” has established a large forest Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning (BEF) experiment in subtropical forests at Xingangshan (Jiangxi Province, China). In total, 566 plots were established at two sites, using different pools of a total of 42 native tree species and 10 shrub species with more than 300 000 planted saplings covering about 50 ha. In a parallel observational approach, 27 Comparative Study Plots (CSPs) were set up in existing forests in an adjacent National Nature Reserve (Gutianshan, Zhejiang Province). The objectives of the second phase will concentrate on measuring relevant ecosystem functions in the experimental plots, comprising primary productivity, carbon and nitrogen storage, nutrient cycling, and prevention of soil erosion, a so-far disregarded ecosystem service in other biodiversity projects but with prominent importance for this region. A focus will be interactions with other trophic levels and strata (herb layer, soil macrofauna, herbivores, decomposers, mycorrhiza, soil microorganisms). This requires the participation of a wide range of scientists, involving all principal investigators of the first stage of the Research Unit, supplemented by new groups focusing on zoology, wood decomposition and phosphorus cycling. As in the first phase, the project will be carried out in close collaboration between Chinese and European researchers with complementary knowledge and skills. In addition, the measurements in the CSPs will continue. The joint synthesis of the data gathered in both phases of BEF-China will help to resolve one of the most central issues in ecology and global change biology: how plant diversity may maintain vital services in forest ecosystems.



  • BEF-China重点聚焦于植物种类繁多的亚热带森林 (图1)。因此,相较于其他森林生物多样性实验,该实验具备由更多木本植物组成的物种库,涵盖更多的物种丰富度水平及物种组成。

FBEF copy图 1 BEF-China地理位置以及世界上所有其他森林生物多样性控制实验点。该图显示了维管植物的物种丰富度,每1万平方公米物种数:蓝色2000-3000, 洋紫色 3000-4000,红色>5000(颜色从黄到红,物种数增加)。

  • 本实验地在中国,是唯一一个亚热带森林多样性实验。中国是世界上人口最多的国家,巨大的资源消耗和潜在的土地利用变化使其肩负着减少碳排放,增加碳储量以及保护生物多样性的责任,使其急需寻求创新的森林管理技术。
  • 有坡度的实验研究样地可以用于研究生物多样性对土壤侵蚀的作用,防止土壤侵蚀是中国和很多其他热带及亚热带地区重要的生态系统服务功能。
  • 实验设计同时包含了随机灭绝和定向灭绝(非随机)的情景。
  • 实验同时控制了乔木和灌木的物种丰富度水平,关注到了灌木做为一种单独的功能群在森林中的潜在作用。
  • 此实验包含量经济树种单作研究。经济树种是当地主要的种植树种,与土地利用变化息息相关。
  • 实验包括了遗传多样性的控制,用以评估种内多样性相较于种间多样性的重要性。
  • 项目组在相邻地区古田山国家自然保护区附近建立了对比研究样地 (Comparative Study Plots, CSPs)。BEF-China的控制实验可以与天然林的观察性研究结果相比较。
  • 测量涵盖了所有的植物功能群,即除木本外,还包含了草本植物。
  • 测量涵盖了生物共生体(菌类)、消费者、分解者的营养级水平,由此考虑到了元素循环与生物组份(比如植物种群、群落结构、植物相互作用的营养食物网)的偶联。