The understanding of patterns of vertical variation and diversity of flora and fauna along elevational change has been well established over the past century. However, it is unclear whether there is an elevational distribution pattern for soil fauna. This study revealed the diversity and spatial-temporal distribution of soil macrofauna communities in different vegetation zones from forest to alpine tundra along elevation of the Changbai Mountain, China. The abundance, richness, and Shannon–Wiener diversity index of soil macrofauna communities were compared in four distinguished vegetation zones including the coniferous and broadleaved mixed forest zone, the coniferous forest zone, the subalpine dwarf birch (Betula ermanii) forest zone, and the alpine tundra zone. Soil macrofauna were extracted in May, July, and September of 2009. In each season, the abundance and richness of the soil macrofauna decreased with the ascending elevation. The Shannon–Wiener diversity indices of the soil macrofauna were higher in the vegetation zones of lower elevation than of higher elevation. Significant differences were observed in the abundance, richness, and Shannon–Wiener diversity index for the studied vegetation zones. Soil macrofauna congregated mainly to the litter layer in the low-elevation areas and in the 0–5 cm soil layer of the higher elevation areas. The results emphasized that the diversity of soil macrofauna communities decreased as the elevation increased and possess the distinct characteristics of zonation in the mountain ecosystem. The diversity and distribution of soil macrofauna communities were influenced by mean annual precipitation, altitude, annual radiation quantity, and mean annual temperature.
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Vol. 46 • No. 3