iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Analysing species abundance distribution patterns across sampling scales in three natural forests in Northeastern China

Lingzhao Tan (1-2), Peng Zhang (1), Xiuhai Zhao (1)   , Chunyu Fan (1), Chunyu Zhang (1), Yan Yan (3), Klaus Von Gadow (4-5)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 13, Issue 6, Pages 482-489 (2020)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor3211-013
Published: Nov 01, 2020 - Copyright © 2020 SISEF

Research Articles

Understanding how and why species abundance distributions (SADs) vary with sampling scale has been a long-standing issue in ecology. By fitting various SAD models with observations collected in three large forest field plots, the objective of this study is to explore how the shape of SADs and the predictive ability of SAD models vary with sampling scales. Based on a large dataset collected in the Changbaishan, Jiaohe and Liangshui forests in northeastern China, observed SADs were compared with SADs estimated using five different models (log-normal, broken stick, Zipf, niche preemption and neutral model) at four sampling scales (10 × 10 m, 30 × 30 m, 60 × 60 m and 90 × 90 m). The results show that the studied SADs are scale dependent. Niche-based models provided a better fit at small sample sizes, the predictive ability decreasing with increasing sampling scale. The neutral model performed better at large sample sizes, the predictive ability increasing with increasing sampling scale. We identify the models that provided the best fit to observed species abundance distributions across spatial scales, and conclude that there is not one best SAD model for all spatial scales. Future studies should consider the scale effects on the species abundance distribution.


Community Ecology, Neutral Theory, Niche Theory, Scale Effects, Species Abundance Distribution, Temperate Forest, Woody Plants

Authors’ address

Lingzhao Tan 0000-0001-6401-5277
Peng Zhang 0000-0002-6769-3310
Xiuhai Zhao 0000-0003-0879-4063
Chunyu Fan 0000-0002-3360-2919
Chunyu Zhang 0000-0003-3091-5060
Research Center of Forest Management Engineering of State Forestry and Grassland Administration, Beijing Forestry University, 100083 Beijing (China)
Lingzhao Tan 0000-0001-6401-5277
Hunan Lishui Hydro & Power Company Limited, 410004 Changsha (China)
Yan Yan
College of Forestry, Northwest A&F University, Yangling, Shanxi 712100 (China)
Klaus Von Gadow 0000-0003-3641-0397
Faculty of Forestry and Forest Ecology, Georg-August-University Göttingen, Büsgenweg 5, D-37077 Göttingen (Germany)
Klaus Von Gadow 0000-0003-3641-0397
Department of Forest and Wood Science, University of Stellenbosch (South Africa)

Corresponding author

Xiuhai Zhao


Tan L, Zhang P, Zhao X, Fan C, Zhang C, Yan Y, Von Gadow K (2020). Analysing species abundance distribution patterns across sampling scales in three natural forests in Northeastern China. iForest 13: 482-489. - doi: 10.3832/ifor3211-013

Academic Editor

Michele Carbognani

Paper history

Received: Aug 07, 2019
Accepted: Aug 15, 2020

First online: Nov 01, 2020
Publication Date: Dec 31, 2020
Publication Time: 2.60 months

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