Current issue: 56(2)
Under compilation: 56(3)
Studies of the spatial patterns of dominant plant species may provide significant insights into processes and mechanisms that maintain stand stability. This study was performed in a permanent 1 ha plot in evergreen and deciduous broad-leaved mixed forests on Tianmu Mountain. Based on two surveys (1996 and 2012), the dynamics of the spatial distribution pattern of the dominant population (Cyclobalanopsis myrsinifolia (Blume) Oersted) and the intra- and interspecific relationships between C. myrsinifolia and other dominant species populations were analyzed using Ripley’s K(r) function. We identified the importance value of a species in a community, which is the sum of the relative density, relative frequency, and relative dominance. The drivers of spatial distribution variation and the maintenance mechanisms of the forest were discussed. The results showed that the importance value of C. myrsinifolia within the community decreased over the past 16 years. The C. myrsinifolia population exhibited a significantly aggregated distribution within a spatial scale of 0–25 m in 1996 whereas it changed to a random distribution at scales larger than 5.5 m in 2012. From 1996 to 2012, the spatial distribution patterns between C. myrsinifolia and Cyclocarya paliurus (Batal.) Iljinsk. and between C. myrsinifolia and Cunninghamia lanceolata (Lamb.) Hook did not change significantly. In 1996, C. myrsinifolia and Daphniphyllum macropodum Miq. were positively associated at the scale of 0–25 m; this relationship was strongly significant at the scale of 6–10 m. However, there was no association between the populations of two species in terms of the spatial distribution at the scale of 0–25 m in 2012. Our findings indicate that the drivers of variation in the spatial distribution of the C. myrsinifolia population were intra- and interspecific mutual relationships as well the seed-spreading mechanism of this species.