Damage and Regeneration of Trees in the Liehuachih Forest Dynamics Plot after Typhoon Disturbance, in Central Taiwan

Typhoons are the common natural disturbances in Taiwan. In order to study species regeneration, coexistence and maintenance of biodiversity of forests, immediate field surveys and monitoring should be done. In 2008, we surveyed a forest after typhoon season, and monitored species regeneration in the Lienhuachih forest dynamics plot in central Taiwan. Our results showed 11 landslide areas caused by typhoons totalled 9159.47 m2, and most landslide areas were located in the valley and on lower slopes. Strong winds caused trees to fall down and branches or the canopy to be damaged; heavy rainfall caused tree death or disappearance. The typhoon caused greater damages to trees with a small diameter at breast hight than to larger ones. The typhoon also caused greater damage to the number of individuals and basal area of pioneer and rare species than it did to dominant species. In addition, we set up 1×1 m plots and divided landslides into 3 areas, the center of the landslide area, edge of the landslide area, and non-landslide areas, to study differences in regeneration of tree species and understory coverage during 2009-2012. Our results showed that for landslide areas and edges of landslide areas, the density, number of species, and understory coverage increased, but the proportion of pioneer species decreased. The number of seedlings that regenerated changed very dramatically, especially in landslide areas. In contrast, in non-landslide areas, the density, number of species, recruitment, and proportion of pioneer species changed less than in the other 2 areas or were stable. The proportion of pioneer species and average growth per seedling were significant lies higher than in the other 2 areas. Then, we used the Sorenson similarity index to understand similarity between regenerated seedlings and overstory trees. The Sorenson similarity index was the lowest at 26.82% in landslide areas, 37.38% in edges of landslide areas, and 41.65% in non-landslide areas. Overall, our study concluded that when typhoons hit landslide formed, more trees were damaged by heavy rainfall than by strong winds in 2008, and new niches were formed, which benefited tree species regeneration and maintained tree diversity and coexistence in the Lienhuachih broadleaf forest.

Abstract in English; article in Chinese.

Chang Li-Wan, Chen Yi-Ting, & Hwong Jeen-Lian
Taiwan Journal of Forest Science
1-14, ref. 42