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A review on niche theory and niche metrics.

Li Jie; Zhu Jinzhao; Zhu Qingke. School of Soil and Water Conservation, Beijing For. Univ., 100083, P.R.China.  
The study on niche theory and its applications has become one important part of modern ecology.Although many scholars had attempted to define it, the typical definitions of niche are Grinnell's space niche, Elton's functional niche and Hutchinson's hypervolume niche; Niche metrics include niche breadth, niche overlapping, niche volume and niche dimension, among which niche breadth and niche overlapping are two important indexes that can be used to characterize a species niche and the relationships between species niches. This paper lists the metrics formulae and analyzes the advantages and disadvantages of each formula, and then selects the formulae fitting forests community. The authors hold that niche overlapping is a necessary condition of resource utilizing competition, and the competition is formed not only under resources scaring but also niche overlapping.
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