Relationship between the hydrological conditions and the distribution of vegetation communities within the Poyang Lake National Nature Reserve, China
Zhang, L., J. Yin, Y. Jiang, and H. Wang, 2012: “Relationship between the hydrological conditions and the distribution of vegetation communities within the Poyang Lake National Nature Reserve, China.” Ecological Informatics, v. 11, pp. 65-75, doi: 10.1016/j.ecoinf.2012.05.006.
Hydrological characteristics have been recognized as major driving forces for wetland vegetation. The water cycle and hydrological processes of wetland are increasingly influenced by the ongoing climate change and more intensive human activities, which may in turn affect the distribution and structure of vegetation communities. Poyang Lake, located on the south bank of the lower reach of Yangtze River, receives inflows from five tributaries and discharges to the Yangtze River. The unique hydrological conditions of the Poyang Lake wetland create abundant wetland vegetation communities. As a major national hydraulic project, the Three Gorges Dam across the Yangtze River has changed the water regime of Poyang Lake and hence may affect the vegetation distribution. This work aims to investigate the influences of hydrological properties on vegetation structure at broad spatial and temporal scales. Histograms and sensitivity index are used to link the hydrological processes with the vegetation distribution across the Poyang Lake National Nature Reserve. The results show that different vegetation communities react differently to the hydrological conditions. Specifically, certain communities, e.g. Carex and Eremochloa ophiuroides, are able to survive a wide variety of mean water depth and percent time inundated, while others, like Carex–Polygonum criopolitanum, are found to be relatively sensitive to hydrological conditions. It is suggested that this work provides a new insight for evaluating the impact of hydro-engineering projects on vegetation communities and wetland vegetation restoration.