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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014, Article ID 309053, 13 pages
Research Article

Elevational Patterns of Plant Richness in the Taibai Mountain, China

1College of Forestry, Northwest A & F University, Yangling 712100, China
2Northwest Institute of Forest Inventory, Planning and Design, SFA, Xian 710078, China

Received 20 July 2014; Accepted 31 August 2014; Published 28 October 2014

Academic Editor: Tibor Magura

Copyright © 2014 Lili Tang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The elevational distribution of plant diversity is a popular issue in ecology and biogeography, and several studies have examined the determinants behind plant diversity patterns. In this study, using published data of the local flora of Taibai Mountain, we explored the effects of spatial and climatic factors on plant species richness. We also evaluated Rapoport’s elevational rule by examining the relationship between elevational range size and midpoint. Species richness patterns were regressed against area, middle domain effect (MDE), mean annual temperature (MAT), and mean annual precipitation (MAP). The results showed that richness of overall plants, seed plants, bryophytes, and ferns all showed hump-shaped patterns along the elevational gradient, although the absolute elevation of richness peaks differed in different plant groups. Species richness of each plant group was all associated strongly with MAT and MAP. In addition to climatic factors, overall plants and seed plants were more related to area in linear regression models, while MDE was a powerful explanatory variable for bryophytes. Rapoport’s elevational rule on species richness was not supported. Our study suggests that a combined interaction of spatial and climatic factors influences the elevational patterns of plant species richness on Taibai Mountain, China.