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Title (Primary) Competition for light and persistence of rare light-demanding species within tree-fall gaps in a moist tropical forest
Author Velázquez, E.; Wiegand, T.;
Journal Ecology
Year 2020
Department OESA;
Volume 101
Issue 7
Language englisch;
POF III (all) T53;
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Keywords disturbance; colonization; advanced regeneration; tropical forests; tree‐fall gaps; light‐demanding species; mortality; diameter at breast height; mark variogram; mark correlation function; point pattern analysis
Abstract Current evidence suggests that tree‐fall gaps can influence forest structure and dynamics by enabling certain species guilds to persist over the long term. Here we assessed the development of local size hierarchies and asymmetric competition for light in tree‐fall gaps, and the role played by these two processes for the persistence of rare light‐demanding species in the Barro Colorado Island Forest Dynamics Plot (Panama). We performed spatial point pattern analysis, considering both the spatial locations (x,y) and the diameter at breast height (DBH) of all the woody plant recruits from the 1985 and 2000 censuses located in tree‐fall gaps, and followed their fate up to the 1990‐2010 and 2005‐2010 censuses, respectively. For these two recruit cohorts, we found that, from the initial census until 5‐10 years later, close neighbors presented a larger DBH than the mean DBH of all individuals within gaps, which points to a positive growth response of recruits to the increased light levels in the gap centers. However, close neighbors of the 1985 cohort also showed larger than expected DBH differences that disappeared in subsequent censuses, indicating an enhancement of size differences between neighbors and the mortality of the smaller individuals. Finally, for both recruit cohorts, we found that 10 to 15 years after gap formation, surviving individuals of rare light‐demanding species had a negative impact on survival of neighboring individuals of other species. Our results indicate that gaps favor the persistence of rare light‐demanding species through the development of local size hierarchies and asymmetric competition for light. The strength of this process, however, apparently depends upon gap size and the role played by the woody plants already existing at the time of gap formation in early colonization. Moreover, our findings suggest that in this forest, gaps may enhance colonization of plant species typical of nearby dry tropical areas, and that, over the coming decades, similar processes could strongly modify the structure and dynamics of moist tropical forests in the region.
ID 22874
Persistent UFZ Identifier https://www.ufz.de/index.php?en=20939&ufzPublicationIdentifier=22874
Velázquez, E., Wiegand, T. (2020):
Competition for light and persistence of rare light-demanding species within tree-fall gaps in a moist tropical forest
Ecology 101 (7), e03034