Published online September 29, 2022
Journal of Ecology and Environment (2022) 46:25
1National Institute of Ecology, Seocheon-gun 33657, Republic of Korea
2Korea National Arboretum, Pocheon 11186, Republic of Korea
3College of Geography and Ocean Science, Yanbian University, Yanji 977, China
Correspondence to:Chi Hong Lim
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Background: The Korean Peninsula exhibits a characteristic graded floral distribution, with northern (Manchurian flora) and southern (China–Japan–Korea flora) lineage species coexisting according to climatic and topographical characteristics. However, this distribution has been altered by climate change. To identify ecosystem changes caused by climate change and develop appropriate measures, the current ecological status of the entire Korean Peninsula should first be determined; however, analysis of the current floral distribution in North Korea has been hampered for political reasons. To overcome these limitations, this study constructed a database of floral distributions in both South and North Korea by integrating spatial information from the previously established National Ecological Survey in South Korea and geocoding data from the literature on biological distributions published in North Korea. It was then applied to analyze the current status and distribution characteristics of Manchurian and China–Japan–Korea plant species on the Korean Peninsula.
Results: In total, 45,877 cases were included in the Manchurian and China–Japan–Korea floral distribution database. China–Japan–Korea species were densely distributed on Jeju-do and along the southern coast of the Korean Peninsula. The distribution density decreased as the latitude increased, and the distributions reached higher-latitude regions in the coastal areas compared with the inland regions. Manchurian species were distributed throughout North Korea, while they were densely distributed in the refugia formed in the high-elevation mountain regions and the Baekdudaegan in South Korea. In the current distribution of biomes classified according to the Whittaker method, subtropical and endemic species were densely distributed in temperate seasonal forest and woodland/ shrubland biomes, whereas boreal species were densely distributed in the boreal forest biome Korean Peninsula, with a characteristic gradation of certain species distributed in the temperate seasonal forest biome. Factor analysis showed that temperature and latitude were the main factors influencing the distribution of flora on the Korean Peninsula.
Conclusions: The findings reported herein on the current floral distribution trends across the entire Korean Peninsula will prove valuable got mitigating the ecological disturbances caused by ongoing climate change. Additionally, the gathered flora data will serve as a basis for various follow-up studies on climate change.
Keywords: biome, climate change, distribution trends, flora database, Korean Peninsula
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