GEOGRAPHICAL RESEARCH ›› 2010, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (5): 917-926.doi: 10.11821/yj2010050016

• Earth Surface Processes • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The quantitative classification and the ordination of periglacial landform plant communities on Mt. Wutai

LV Xiu-zhi1, SHANGGUAN Tie-liang1,2   

  1. 1. Loess Plateau Research Institute, Shanxi University, Taiyuan 030006, China;
    2. School of Environment and Resources, Shanxi University, Taiyuan 030006, China
  • Received:2009-04-06 Revised:2009-10-26 Online:2010-05-20 Published:2010-05-20


Wutai Mountain is located in the northeast of Xinzhou City, Shanxi Province. Its highest peak, with an altitude of 3061 meters, is also the highest peak of North China, hence it was nicknamed "the roof of northern China". Based on the data from the field surveys, the quantitative classification and the ordination of the plant communities related to periglacial landforms on Mt. Wutai were studied by using Two-Way Indicators Species Analysis (TWINSPAN) and Detrended Correspondence Analysis (DCA). The communities were classified into 13 associations by TWINSPAN. The result indicated that the 13 associations were important ecological landscapes elements of different periglacial landforms, and there were close relationships between ecological features of associations and their habitats. The result of DCA ordination showed the relationship between the distribution pattern of plant communities and soil, humidity and energy. And the distribution pattern of dominant species on different types of periglacial landforms dominated the distribution pattern of plant group types, reflecting the changing trend of community types and species distribution with environmental gradient. Compared with mountain communities at the same latitude in China, the vegetation types of Mt. Wutai on periglacial landforms were the most abundant. Moreover, they were unique in the plant species composition of communities. The in-depth studies on the relationship between the regional communities distribution patterns and periglacial landforms environment not only contributed to reasonable protection and development of periglacial landforms, but also was of practical significance in protection of natural landscape and ecological security of Mt. Wutai, which is one of the world cultural heritage sites.

Key words: TWINSPAN classification, DCA ordination, periglacial landforms, plant community, Mt. Wutai