The 20-ha Dinghushan plot was established in 2005 and lies within the Dinghushan National Nature Reserve (23°09′21′′ - 23°11′30′′N, 112°30′39′′ - 112°33′41′′N). It is located in the west of Guangdong Province, south China. The plot is typical lower subtropical evergreen broadleaved forest. The mean annual rain fall is 1,985 mm. Annual average temperature is 20.9°C, with a January mean of 12.6°C, and a July mean of 28.0°C. Plot elevation varies from 230 m to 470 m above sea level and contains numerous extremely steep slopes, ranging from 30° to 50°.
There are 71,617 individual trees, belonging to 210 species, 119 genera, and 56 families. The plot’s floristic composition is transitional between the subtropical and tropical. The vertical structure of the forest is clear. There are five layers from the top of the canopy to the ground floor, three layers (upper, middle, and lower), one shrub layer, and one herb layer. Based on importance value, Castanopsis chinensis, Schima superba, and Engelhardtia roxburghiana are the three most dominant species in the upper layer.
There are many shade-tolerant and intermediate light-demanding species such as Cryptocarya chinensis, Xanthophyllum hainanense, Machilus chinensis, and so on in the mid layer. Species in the understory layer are rich and complex, and its composition varies a lot. The species-are curve indicates that there is high diversity in the forest, and the number of species is close to that of the Barro Colorado Island plot. There is a high proportion of rare species represented by <20 individuals, which account for 52.38% of the total number of species. Among these rare species, 45% of them determined to be rare by species characteristics, 20% by the floristic transitional nature of the plot, and the rest by disturbances.