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Do Geographically Isolated Grasslands Follow the Principle of Island Biogeography in a Landscape Scale? Taking Poyang Lake Grassland as an Example

Shiqi Luo1,3, Wenbo Chen2,3,*, Lei He4, Qiongbing Xiong1,3

1 College of Land Resources and Environment, Jiangxi Agricultural University, Nanchang, 330045, China
2 East China University of Technology, Nanchang, 330032, China
3 The Key Laboratory of Landscape and Environment, Jiangxi Agricultural University, Nanchang, 330045, China
4 School of Tourism and Urban Management, Jiangxi University of Finance and Economics, Nanchang, 330013, China

* Corresponding Author: Wenbo Chen. Email:

(This article belongs to this Special Issue: Plant–Environment Interactions)

Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany 2023, 92(2), 455-470.


As one of the basic theories of biodiversity conservation, island biogeography has been widely accepted in the past decades. Originally, island biogeography was put forward and applied in oceanic environments. But later on, it was found out that the application was not only limited to oceanic islands, but also in terrestrial environments with relatively isolated conditions. In terms of biodiversity level, island biogeography generally focuses on a small scale, such as species diversity and genetic diversity. The studies of biodiversity on a large-scale based on island biogeography, such as ecosystem and landscape scales, were seldomly conducted. Taking Poyang Lake, the largest fresh water lake in China as case study area, 30 grasslands were randomly selected to study whether island biogeography can be applied to grasslands at a landscape level from three island attributes (area, distance and shape), and the most important ecological variable (flooding) in Poyang Lake. The results showed that in general, grasslands have the property of an island, and follow the basic principle of island biogeography. We found the area and flooding duration were the two most important determinants of landscape diversity. There was a significant positive correlation between the grassland area and the landscape diversity, which could be well expressed by logarithmic function model (R2 = 0.73). There was a negative correlation between flooding duration and landscape diversity, which could be described by an inverse model (R2 = 0.206). The distance to mainland and the shape of grassland were correlated with landscape diversity, but the fitting result of the models was not as good as expected. The possible reason could be that Poyang Lake is a seasonal lake, the water level varies with hydrological conditions, so that the grasslands are not strongly isolated and their shape is not stable enough required by island biogeography. Furthermore, it indicates that besides area, distance and shape attributes, flooding strongly affects the biodiversity of grassland vegetation, and should not be ignored when applying island biogeography theory to Poyang Lake. This study is expected to be a supplement for island biogeography in terrestrial environments, and the results are expected to benefit for the biodiversity conservation in Poyang Lake.


Cite This Article

Luo, S., Chen, W., He, L., Xiong, Q. (2023). Do Geographically Isolated Grasslands Follow the Principle of Island Biogeography in a Landscape Scale? Taking Poyang Lake Grassland as an Example. Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany, 92(2), 455–470.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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