• Journal of Geographical Sciences
  • Vol. 30, Issue 4, 04000642 (2020)
ZHAO Fang1、2, LIU Junjie1, ZHU Wenbo1, ZHANG Baiping3、*, and ZHU Lianqi1
Author Affiliations
  • 1College of Environment and Planning, Henan University, Kaifeng 475004, Henan, China
  • 2Key Laboratory of Geospatial Technology for the Middle and Lower Yellow River Regions, Henan University, Kaifeng 475004, Henan, China
  • 3State Key Laboratory of Resource and Environment Information System, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
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    Abstract

    To determine the dividing index between warm temperate and subtropical zones based on the spectra of altitudinal belts, this paper collected 33 spectra of altitudinal belts in the Qinling-Daba Mountains from published literatures and then analyzed the structures and the spatial patterns from south to north, from west to east and based on exposure directions. The results show that: 1) From south to north, the basal belt gradually changes from subtropical evergreen broadleaf forest to warm temperate deciduous broadleaf forest; the spectra of altitudinal belts change from complex to simple; the dominant belt changes from montane broadleaf-conifer mixed forest and evergreen-deciduous broadleaf mixed forest to deciduous broadleaf forest. 2) From west to east, the structures of the altitudinal belt spectra show complexity in the east and west but simplicity in the middle section; the upper limits of both the evergreen-deciduous broadleaf mixed forest belt and montane deciduous broadleaf forest belt present a quadratic curve distribution pattern in the longitudinal direction. However, the upper limit of the montane broadleaf-conifer mixed forest belt exhibits a nearly linear decrease in the west-east direction. 3) Both the north and south slopes in the Qinling Mountains have the similar basal belt, whereas it varies greatly between the north and south slopes in the Daba Mountains. Comparably, dominant belts are very similar in the Qinling Mountains and the north slope of the Daba Mountains, but the south slope of the Daba Mountains has its own unique dominant belt: evergreen-deciduous broadleaf mixed forest. This implies that the Daba Mountains are more appropriate than the Qinling Mountains to act as the boundary between subtropical and warm-temperate zones in central China.

    1 Introduction

    The Qinling-Daba Mountains, within the watersheds of both the Yangtze River and Yellow River, form a natural boundary of geography and climate between north and south China, which are primarily important to the formation and variation of the geographic and ecological environment in central China. They extend from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in the west to the eastern plain of China, across 8 degrees of longitude in the east-west direction, forming a “bridge” that connects the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and the eastern plain of China. Therefore, their physical geography is characterized by connection in the east-west direction and transition in the north-south direction, and zonation and azonation factors work together to form complex and diverse mountain altitudinal belts. Research on the structure, characteristics, quantity, height, and distribution mode of the altitudinal zonation structure plays a crucial role in exploring the complex ecological and geographic patterns in the Qinling-Daba Mountains, recognizing the specific location of the north-south divide of China, and explaining the mountain biodiversity and its response to global climate changes.