Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1111/j.1365-2745.2008.01377.x
Title (Primary) Heterogeneity influences spatial patterns and demographics in forest stands
Author Getzin, S.; Wiegand, T.; Wiegand, K.; He, F.
Journal Journal of Ecology
Year 2008
Department OESA
Volume 96
Issue 4
Page From 807
Page To 820
Language englisch
Keywords case-control; dispersal strategies; inhomogeneous pair-correlation function; large-scale heterogeneity; point pattern analysis; succession; western hemlock
Abstract 1. The spatial pattern of tree species retains signatures of factors and processes such as dispersal, available resource patches for establishment, competition and demographics. Comparison of the spatial pattern of different size classes can thus help to reveal the importance and characteristics of the underlying processes. However, tree dynamics may be masked by large-scale heterogeneous site conditions, e.g. when the restricting size of regeneration sites superimposes emergent patterns.2. Here we ask how environmental heterogeneity may influence the spatial dynamics of plant communities. We compared the spatial patterns and demographics of western hemlock in a homogeneous and a heterogeneous site of old-growth Douglas-fir forests on Vancouver Island using recent techniques of point pattern analysis. We used homogeneous and inhomogeneous K- and pair-correlation functions, and case-control studies to quantify the change in spatial distribution for different size classes of western hemlock.3. Our comparative analyses show that biological processes interacted with spatial heterogeneity, leading to qualitatively different population dynamics at the two sites. Population structure, survival and size structure of western hemlock were different in the heterogeneous stand in such a way that, compared to the homogeneous stand, seedlings were more clustered, seedling densities higher, seedling mortality lower, adult growth faster and adult mortality higher. Under homogeneous site conditions, seedling survival was mainly abiotically determined by random arrival in small gaps with limiting light. At the heterogeneous site, seedling densities and initial survival were much higher, leading to strong density-dependent mortality and selection for faster growing individuals in larger size classes. We hypothesise that the dynamics of the heterogeneous stand were faster due to asymmetric competition with disproportionate benefit to taller plants.4. Synthesis. Our study supports the hypothesis that successional dynamics are intensified in heterogeneous forest stands with strong spatial structures and outlines the importance of spatial heterogeneity as a determinant of plant population dynamics and pattern formation.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Getzin, S., Wiegand, T., Wiegand, K., He, F. (2008):
Heterogeneity influences spatial patterns and demographics in forest stands
J. Ecol. 96 (4), 807 - 820