Effects of habitat factors on the plant diversity on naturally-restored wind farm slopes

PeerJ. 2023 Mar 1;11:e14912. doi: 10.7717/peerj.14912. eCollection 2023.


This study investigated naturally-restored plant communities on wind farm slopes and analyzed the effects of various habitat factors on the plant diversity. The findings provide a technical support for the ecological restoration of mountainous slopes.Twenty-one slopes on five wind farms were selected and the characteristics of the habitat, including slope position, slope aspect, slope gradient, altitude, years since restoration, and plant communities, were recorded. The species richness of the plant communities and the vegetation diversity indexes of these wind farms were measured and calculated, including the Shannon-Wiener diversity index (H’), Pielou’s species evenness index (J), and Margalef’s richness index (R). The key factors influencing plant diversity were identified using a stepwise regression analysis. A total of 36 families, 54 genera, and 57 species of plants were identified in this study with the Gramineae, Compositae, Rosaceae, Liliaceae, and Juglandaceae families the mostly predominant. Cynodon dactylon, Rubus lambertianus Ser., and Lindera glauca were the dominant species of herbs, shrubs, and trees, respectively. The highest number of species were found on lower slopes, slopes with semi-sunny aspects, slopes with gradients 30-50°, elevation below 500 m, and on slopes with at least five years since restoration. The plant diversity H’ and R tended to be higher on lower slopes than on upper slopes, and higher on slopes with semi-shady aspects than on slopes with semi-sunny aspects (P < 0.05). Vegetation diversity increased with the years since restoration. Slope position and slope aspect were identified as the primary influencing factors, and the H’ and R indexes were major indicators of changes in plant diversity on mountainous slopes.

PMID:36879910 | PMC:PMC9985415 | DOI:10.7717/peerj.14912


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