Current issue: 53(4)
Despite the influence of cavities on the survival and distribution of cavity-dependent fauna, the variation in the density and characteristics of tree cavities across different habitat types in tropical forests is unknown. In this study, we surveyed 26 312 living trees from 376 species and compared cavity density and characteristics (height, size, type, and orientation) across five habitat types (valley, low-slope, high-slope, high-gully, and high-plateau) in a 20-hectare tropical rainforest in southwest China. From a total of 2047 cavities, we found that cavity density was mainly driven by habitat rather than tree species richness or diameter at breast height (DBH), and the characteristics of cavities were not uniformly distributed across habitats. Cavities were significantly more abundant in high- and low-slope than high-plateau habitats. Compared with other habitats, more “butt hollow” cavity types were found in high-slope habitat and they occurred at a lower tree height, whereas more “crack” cavities were found in low-slope habitat and they had a narrower entrance diameter. Although the mean orientation of cavities faced towards the northeast, cavity orientation varied significantly across habitat types. Our results indicate that certain types of cavities are concentrated in specific habitat types, which can provide avenues for forest management and biodiversity conservation. We highlight the importance of habitat heterogeneity in providing resources for cavity nesters.
The study proposes a technique which enables the computation of user-defined indices for species diversity. These indices are derived from characteristics, called diversity indicators, of inventory plots, stand compartments, and the whole forest holding. The study discusses the modifications required to be made to typical forest planning systems due to this kind of biodiversity computation. A case study illustrating the use of the indices and a modified forest planning system is provided. In the case study, forest-level species diversity index was computed from the volume of dead wood, volume of broadleaved trees, area of old forest, and between-stand variety.
At the stand level, the area of old forest was replaced by stand age, and variety was described by within-stand variety. All but one of the indicators were further partitioned into two to four sub-indicators. For example, the volume of broadleaved trees was divided into volumes of birch, aspen, willow, and other tree species. The partial contribution of an indicator to the diversity index was obtained from a sub-priority function, determined separately for each indicator. The diversity index was obtained when the partial contributions were multiplied by the weights of the corresponding indicators and then were summed. The production frontiers computed for the harvested volume and diversity indices were concave, especially for the forest-level diversity index, indicating that diversity can be maintained at satisfactory level with medium harvest levels.