Forest Dynamics (forest + dynamics)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Scale-dependent controls upon the fluvial export of large wood from river catchments

Jung Il Seo
Abstract The annual fluvial export of large wood (LW) was monitored by local reservoir management offices in Japan. LW export per unit watershed area was relatively high in small watersheds, peaked in intermediate watersheds, and decreased in large watersheds. To explain these variations, we surveyed the amount of LW with respect to channel morphology in 78 segments (26 segments in each size class) in the Nukabira River, northern Japan. We examined the differences in LW dynamics, including its recruitment, transport, storage, and fragmentation and decay along the spectrum of watershed sizes. We found that a large proportion of LW produced by forest dynamics and hillslope processes was retained because of the narrower valley floors and lower stream power in small watersheds. The retained LW pieces may eventually be exported during debris flows. In intermediate watersheds, the volume of LW derived from hillslopes decreased substantially with reductions in the proportion of channel length bordered by hillslope margins, which potentially deliver large quantities of LW. Because these channels have lower wood piece length to channel width ratios and higher stream power, LW pieces can be transported downstream. During transport, LW pieces are further fragmented and can be more easily transported. Therefore, the fluvial export of LW is maximized in intermediate watersheds. Rivers in large watersheds, where the recruitment of LW is limited by the decreasing hillslope margins, cannot transport LW pieces because of their low stream power, and thus LW pieces accumulate at various storage sites. Although these stored LW pieces can be refloated and transported by subsequent flood events, they may also become trapped by obstacles such as logjams and standing trees on floodplains and in secondary channels, remaining there for decades and eventually decaying into fine organic particles. Thus, the fluvial export of LW pieces is low in large watersheds. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Tree growth is related to light interception and wood density in two mixed dipterocarp forests of Malaysia

Summary 1The development of simple predictors of tree growth is important in understanding forest dynamics. For this purpose, tree height, crown width in two perpendicular directions, trunk diameter at 1·3 m height (d.b.h.) and crown illumination index (CI) were determined for 727 pole-sized trees (8,20 cm d.b.h.) of 21 species, on forest dynamics plots at Pasoh Forest Reserve, Peninsular Malaysia and Lambir Hills National Park, Sarawak, Malaysia. A light-interception index (LI = AcrCI2, where Acr is crown area) was calculated for each tree, and wood density (stem wood dry mass/fresh volume) was estimated for each species from reported values. 2Diameter growth rates were linearly correlated with LI (mean per species r2 = 0·45, excluding substantially damaged and vine-covered trees). 3Among trees of all species, diameter growth rate was highly correlated with LI/wood density. 4Mean growth rate per species varied 10-fold among the study species, but increased linearly with mean LI/wood density ratio (r2 = 0·78), consistent with the previous pattern. 5Thus much of the variability in tree growth rates, both within and among species, can be accounted for by the simple mechanistic assumption that, within a given size class, growth is proportional to light interception/wood density. [source]

The regional variation of aboveground live biomass in old-growth Amazonian forests

Abstract The biomass of tropical forests plays an important role in the global carbon cycle, both as a dynamic reservoir of carbon, and as a source of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere in areas undergoing deforestation. However, the absolute magnitude and environmental determinants of tropical forest biomass are still poorly understood. Here, we present a new synthesis and interpolation of the basal area and aboveground live biomass of old-growth lowland tropical forests across South America, based on data from 227 forest plots, many previously unpublished. Forest biomass was analyzed in terms of two uncorrelated factors: basal area and mean wood density. Basal area is strongly affected by local landscape factors, but is relatively invariant at regional scale in moist tropical forests, and declines significantly at the dry periphery of the forest zone. Mean wood density is inversely correlated with forest dynamics, being lower in the dynamic forests of western Amazonia and high in the slow-growing forests of eastern Amazonia. The combination of these two factors results in biomass being highest in the moderately seasonal, slow growing forests of central Amazonia and the Guyanas (up to 350 Mg dry weight ha,1) and declining to 200,250 Mg dry weight ha,1 at the western, southern and eastern margins. Overall, we estimate the total aboveground live biomass of intact Amazonian rainforests (area 5.76 × 106 km2 in 2000) to be 93±23 Pg C, taking into account lianas and small trees. Including dead biomass and belowground biomass would increase this value by approximately 10% and 21%, respectively, but the spatial variation of these additional terms still needs to be quantified. [source]

Pliocene forest dynamics as a primary driver of African bird speciation

GLOBAL ECOLOGY, Issue 1 2010
Gary Voelker
ABSTRACT Aim, Montane tropics are areas of high endemism, and mechanisms driving this endemism have been receiving increasing attention at a global scale. A general trend is that climatic factors do not explain the species richness of species with small to medium-sized geographic ranges, suggesting that geological and evolutionary processes must be considered. On the African continent, several hypotheses including both refugial and geographic uplift models have been advanced to explain avian speciation and diversity in the lowland forest and montane regions of central and eastern Africa; montane regions in particular are recognized as hotspots of vertebrate endemism. Here, we examine the possible role of these models in driving speciation in a clade of African forest robins. Location, Africa. Methods, We constructed the first robustly supported molecular phylogenetic hypothesis of forest robins. On this phylogeny, we reconstructed habitat-based distributions and geographic distributions relative to the Albertine Rift. We also estimated the timing of lineage divergences via a molecular clock. Results, Robust estimates of phylogenetic relationships and clock-based divergences reject Miocene tectonic uplift and Pleistocene forest refugia as primary drivers of speciation in forest robins. Instead, our data suggest that most forest robin speciation took place in the Late Pliocene, from 3.2 to 2.2 Ma. Distributional patterns are complex, with the Albertine Rift region serving as a general east,west break across the group. Montane distributions are inferred to have evolved four times. Main conclusions, Phylogenetic divergence dates coincide with a single period of lowland forest retraction in the late Pliocene, suggesting that most montane speciation resulted from the rapid isolation of populations in montane areas, rather than montane areas themselves being drivers of speciation. This conclusion provides additional evidence that Pliocene climate change was a major driver of speciation in broadly distributed African animal lineages. We further show that lowland forest robins are no older than their montane relatives, suggesting that lowland areas are not museums which house ,ancient' taxa; rather, for forest robins, montane areas should be viewed as living museums of a late Pliocene diversification event. A forest refugial pattern is operating in Africa, but it is not constrained to the Pleistocene. [source]

6000 years of forest dynamics in Suserup Skov, a seminatural Danish woodland

GLOBAL ECOLOGY, Issue 2 2000
Gina E. Hannon
Abstract 1The history of a forest stand over the last 6000 years has been reconstructed by studying pollen, macrofossils and charcoal from a small, wet hollow in Suserup Skov on the island of Sjælland in eastern Denmark. 2The earliest recorded forest was Tilia -dominated but contained an intimate mixture of many different tree species that included Acer campestre, A. platanoides, Alnus glutinosa, Betula pubescens, Corylus avellana, Frangula alnus, Fraxinus excelsior, Malus sylvestris, Populus tremula, Pinus sylvestris, Quercus robur, Q. petraea, Salix spp., Sorbus aucuparia, Tilia cordata and T. platyphyllos. The preserved fruits of T. platyphyllos confirm its hitherto doubtful status as a native member of the Danish flora. 3The present-day woodland developed after a period of intensive anthropogenic disturbance between , 600 bc and ad 900, during which time open canopy conditions prevailed at Suserup. Fagus sylvatica and Fraxinus excelsior are the dominant trees at present, together with some Quercus robur and Ulmus glabra.4,Charcoal was present in the sediments from most time periods except at the Ulmus decline. In the last 1000 years of the sequence , the period of Fagus dominance , charcoal counts were consistently low. 5Pinus sylvestris was a natural component of this primarily deciduous forest, and the last macrofossil find dates from c. ad 900. Macrofossil Pinus cone scales recorded c. ad 1800 originate from planted individuals. Prior to Fagus dominance, the forest had an open structure partly caused by frequent, low-intensity fires associated with the presence of Pinus sylvestris. 6The replacement of Tilia by Fagus in this forest was catalysed by human activity. If the forest had not been so disturbed, the rich diversity of trees would most probably have persisted up to the present time, with only a moderate-sized Fagus population. [source]

Effect of selective logging on forest structure and nutrient cycling in a seasonally dry Brazilian Atlantic forest

Dora Maria Villela
Abstract Aim, The Brazilian Atlantic forest covers c. 10% of its original extent, and some areas are still being logged. Although several ecological studies in Atlantic forest have been published over the past two to three decades, there has been little research on forest dynamics and there is a particular lack of information on the effects of disturbance. The aim of the present study was to assess the impact of selective logging on forest structure, floristic composition soil nutrients, litterfall and litter layer in a seasonally dry Atlantic forest. Location, The Mata do Carvão is located in the Guaxindiba Ecological Reserve in São Francisco do ltabapoana district (21°24, S, 41°04, W), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Methods, Four plots (50 × 50 m) were set up in 1995 in each of two stands: unlogged and logged. In each plot, all trees , 10 cm d.b.h. were enumerated, identified and measured. Vouchers were lodged at UENF Herbarium. Five surface soil samples were collected in each plot in the dry season (in October 1995). Litterfall was collected in eight traps (0.50 m2) in each plot over a year from 14 November 1995 to 11 November 1996. The litter layer was sampled in eight quadrats (0.25 m2) in each plot in the dry and wet seasons. Soils were air-dried, sieved, and chemically analysed. The litter was dried (80 °C), sorted into six fractions, weighed and bulked samples analysed for nutrients. Results, Forest stands did not differ in stem density and total basal area, with a total of 1137 individuals sampled in 1996 (564 unlogged and 573 logged), and a total basal area of 15 m2 (unlogged) and 13.0 m2 (logged). However, unlogged stands had more large trees (, 30 cm in d.b.h.) and greater mean canopy height. Among the families, Rutaceae and Leguminosae were the most abundant families in both sites, although the Rutaceae had a higher density in unlogged and Leguminosae in the logged stand. The species diversity index was similar between stands. Late-successional species, such as Metrodorea nigra var. brevifolia and Paratecoma peroba, were less abundant in the logged stand. Selective logging did not affect nutrient concentrations in the soil or in the litter. However, quantities of the nutrients in the total litterfall and in the leaf litterfall and litter layer were higher in unlogged than in logged stands, mainly as a result of fallen M. nigra leaves. Metrodorea nigra was considered a key species in the nutrients dynamics in Carvão forest. Main conclusions, Despite the fact that effects on tree diversity and soil nutrients were not clear, selective logging in this Atlantic forest altered canopy structure, increased the relative abundance of some early-secondary species and decreased the litter input and stock of nutrients. Detailed information on the influence of logging on the distribution and structure of plant populations and in nutrient processes is fundamental for a sustainable logging system to be developed. [source]

Effects of natural disturbance and selective logging on Nothofagus forests in south-central Chile

William Pollmann
Aim Changes in stand structure, floristic composition and tree population dynamics during the last four centuries were described in southern temperate rain forests. The impacts of natural and anthropogenic disturbance since the late 1560s were examined for old-growth and logged forests. Location The study was conducted in montane Nothofagus alpina forests in the Andean Range of south-central Chile. Study sites were located at a range of altitudes between 1000 and 1250 m a.s.l. Methods Temporal variation in species recruitment and annual dendroecological data were used to determine the historical development and disturbance history of three old-growth forests, and three stands after selective logging in the late 1880s to early 1900s. Considering the spatial structure of evergreen vs. deciduous elements, the forests are a mixture of deciduous and evergreen tree species. Results Stem density, maximum stem diameter and basal area differed between the old-growth and logged stands, but species composition did not. At lower altitudes, N. alpina was the dominant canopy species in both old-growth and logged stands, but regeneration of N. alpina was significantly different in these stands. At higher altitudes, N. alpina and N. dombeyi were the dominant canopy species in both old-growth and logged stands, and here regeneration patterns of these Nothofagus species were similar. After selective logging, in mixed forests of shade-intolerant Nothofagus and more shade-tolerant trees (such as Laurelia philippiana) there has been a shift in regeneration from more shade-tolerant resprouting species towards Nothofagus. Major and moderate releases in radial growth, indicative of disturbance, occurred in most of the older trees during the last four centuries, and especially during the last 100 years. Growth rates of N. alpina are higher than those of associated shade-tolerant trees, and apparently increase after disturbances. Main conclusions Results suggest that under disturbance regimes dominated by treefall gaps, and additionally canopy openings by selective logging, maintenance of Nothofagus species appears to be associated with complementary differences in growth rate, sprouting capacity, canopy residence time, and longevity. Such small-scale canopy openings may help explain the relative abundance of N. alpina in montane mixed rain forests in the Andean Range, where the maintenance of Nothofagus species in many stands has been attributed to a high frequency of coarse-scale disturbance. My results serve to emphasize that understanding the species coexistence and forest dynamics in Nothofagus forests may require attention to interspecific differences in life-history characteristics. [source]

Fire regimes and forest changes in mid and upper montane forests of the southern Cascades, Lassen Volcanic National Park, California, U.S.A.

A. H. Taylor
Abstract Aim Spatial and temporal variation in fire regime parameters and forest structure were assessed. Location A 2630-ha area of mid- and upper montane forest in Lassen Volcanic National Park (LVNP). Methods Two hypotheses were tested concerned with fire-vegetation relationships in southern Cascades forests: (1) fire regime parameters (return interval, season of burn, fire size, rotation period) vary by forest dominant, elevation and slope aspect; and (2) fire exclusion since 1905 has caused forest structural and compositional changes in both mid- and upper montane forests. The implications of the study for national park management are also discussed. Results Fire regime parameters varied by forest compositional group and elevation in LVNP. Median composite and point fire return intervals were shorter in low elevation Jeffrey pine (Pinus jeffreyi) (JP) (4,6 years, 16 years) and Jeffrey pine,white fir (Abies concolor) (JP-WF) (5,10 years, 22 years) and longer in high elevation red fir (Abies magnifica), western white pine (Pinus monticola) (RF-WWP) forests (9,27 years, 70 years). Median fire return intervals were also shorter on east-facing (6,9 years, 16.3 years) and longer on south- (11 years, 32.5 years) and west-facing slopes (22,28 years, 54-years) in all forests and in each forest composition group. Spatial patterns in fire rotation length were the same as those for fire return intervals. More growing season fires also occurred in JP (33.1%) and JP-WF (17.5%) than in RF-WWP (1.1%) forests. A dramatic decline in fire frequency occurred in all forests after 1905. Conclusions Changes in forest structure and composition occurred in both mid- and upper montane forests due to twentieth-century fire exclusion. Forest density increased in JP and JP-WF forests and white fir increased in JP-WF forests and is now replacing Jeffrey pine. Forest density only increased in some RF-WWP stands, but not others. Resource managers restoring fire to these now denser forests need to burn larger areas if fire is going to play its pre-settlement role in montane forest dynamics. [source]

Interactions of multiple disturbances in shaping boreal forest dynamics: a spatially explicit analysis using multi-temporal lidar data and high-resolution imagery

Udayalakshmi Vepakomma
Summary 1.,Mixed-wood boreal forests are often considered to undergo directional succession from shade-intolerant to shade-tolerant species. It is thus expected that overstorey gaps should lead to the recruitment of shade-tolerant conifers into the canopy in all stand development stages and that the recruitment of shade-intolerant hardwoods would be minimal except in the largest gaps. 2.,We analysed short-term gap dynamics over a large 6-km2 spatial area of mixed-wood boreal forest across a gradient of stands in different developmental stages with different times of origin since fire (expressed as stand ,age') that were affected differentially by the last spruce budworm (SBW) outbreak. Structural measurements of the canopy from lidar data were combined with spectral classification of broad species groups to characterize the gap disturbance regime and to evaluate the effect of gap openings on forest dynamics. 3.,Estimated annual gap opening rates increased from 0.16% for 84-year-old stands to 0.88% for 248-year-old stands. Trees on gap peripheries in all stands were more vulnerable to mortality than interior canopy trees. 4.,Due to recovery from the last SBW outbreak 16 years previously, gap closure rates were higher than opening rates, ranging from 0.44% to 2.05% annually, but did not show any relationship with stand age. There was, however, a continuing legacy of the last SBW outbreak in old-conifer stands in terms of a continued high mortality of conifers. In all stands, the majority of the openings were filled from below, although a smaller but significant proportion filled from lateral growth of gap edge trees. 5.,Synthesis. The forest response to moderate- to small-scale disturbances in old-growth boreal forest counters the earlier assumption that the transition from one forest state to the next is slow and directional with time since the last fire. Overall, a small 6% increase in hardwoods was observed over 5 years, largely due to regeneration in-filling of hardwoods in gaps instead of successional transition to more shade-tolerant conifers. Gaps are vital for hardwood maintenance while transition to softwoods can occur without perceived gap-formation as overstorey trees die, releasing understorey trees. [source]

Tropical forest tree mortality, recruitment and turnover rates: calculation, interpretation and comparison when census intervals vary

Summary 1Mathematical proofs show that rate estimates, for example of mortality and recruitment, will decrease with increasing census interval when obtained from censuses of non-homogeneous populations. This census interval effect could be confounding or perhaps even driving conclusions from comparative studies involving such rate estimates. 2We quantify this artefact for tropical forest trees, develop correction methods and re-assess some previously published conclusions about forest dynamics. 3Mortality rates of > 50 species at each of seven sites in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Australia were used as subpopulations to simulate stand-level mortality rates in a heterogeneous population when census intervals varied: all sites showed decreasing stand mortality rates with increasing census interval length. 4Stand-level mortality rates from 14 multicensus long-term forest plots from Africa, Latin America, Asia and Australia also showed that, on average, mortality rates decreased with increasing census interval length. 5Mortality, recruitment or turnover rates with differing census interval lengths can be compared using the mean rate of decline from the 14 long-term plots to standardize estimates to a common census length using ,corr = , × t0.08, where , is the rate and t is time between censuses in years. This simple general correction should reduce the bias associated with census interval variation, where it is unavoidable. 6Re-analysis of published results shows that the pan-tropical increase in stem turnover rates over the late 20th century cannot be attributed to combining data with differing census intervals. In addition, after correction, Old World tropical forests do not have significantly lower turnover rates than New World sites, as previously reported. Our pan-tropical best estimate adjusted stem turnover rate is 1.81 ± 0.16% a,1 (mean ± 95% CI, n = 65). 7As differing census intervals affect comparisons of mortality, recruitment and turnover rates, and can lead to erroneous conclusions, standardized field methods, the calculation of local correction factors at sites where adequate data are available, or the use of our general standardizing formula to take account of sample intervals, are to be recommended. [source]

Environmental change and peatland forest dynamics in the Lake Sentarum area, West Kalimantan, Indonesia

Gusti Anshari
Abstract Four short pollen and charcoal records from sites within and around Lake Pemerak on the margins of the Danau (Lake) Sentarum National Park in inland West Kalimantan, supported by modern surface samples from the Reserve, provide a partial picture of lowland equatorial vegetation and environments over at least the last 40,000 years. They demonstrate general stability in the distribution of wetland and ombrotrophic (or raised) peatlands through the recorded period with dominance throughout of peatland and swamp forest. However, there was marked variation in sediment accumulation rates and in the floristic composition of the vegetation. The period prior to the last glacial maximum appears to have been the time of most active peatland growth and contrasts with the perception, from previous studies on largely coastal and subcoastal peatlands in Indonesia, that the Holocene was the time of major tropical peat accumulation. A general increase in charcoal, just prior to about 30,000 years ago, suggests that burning became more frequent, and is attributed to initial human impact rather than climate change. The subsequent latest Pleistocene period, embracing the Last Glacial Maximum, is marked by a peak in montane,submontane rainforest taxa, strongly indicating a substantial lowering of temperature. It appears that much of the Holocene is not recorded but recommencement of peat accumulation is evident within the last few thousand years. At the time of fieldwork access to the central part of the Lake Sentarum system was inhibited by strong El Niño drought conditions, but this area has the potential to provide a longer and more continuous history of environmental change for the region. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Long-term successional forest dynamics: species and community responses to climatic variability

Paul Kardol
Abstract Question: Are trees sensitive to climatic variability, and do tree species differ in their responses to climatic variability? Does sensitivity of forest communities to climatic variability depend on stand composition? Location: Mixed young forest at Walker Branch Watershed near Oak Ridge, East Tennessee, USA. Methods: Using a long-term dataset (1967,2006), we analyzed temporal forest dynamics at the tree and species level, and community dynamics for forest stands that differed in initial species composition (i.e., chestnut oak, oak,hickory, pine, and yellow poplar stands). Using summer drought and growing season temperature as defined climate drivers, we evaluated relationships between forest dynamics and climate across levels of organization. Results: Over the four-decade study period, forest communities underwent successional change and substantially increased in biomass. Variation in summer drought and growing season temperature contributed to temporal biomass dynamics for some tree species, but not for others. Stand-level responses to climatic variability were related to the responses of component species, except in pine stands. Pinus echinata, the dominant species in pine stands, decreased over time due to periodic outbreaks of pine bark beetle (Dendroctonus frontalis). These outbreaks at Walker Branch could not be directly related to climatic conditions. Conclusions: The results indicate that sensitivity of developing forests to climatic variability is stand type-dependent, and hence is a function of species composition. However, in the long term, direct effects of climatic variability on forest dynamics may be small relative to autogenic successional processes or climate-related insect outbreaks. Empirical studies testing for interactions between forest succession and climatic variability are needed. [source]

Dynamics in Central European near-natural Abies-Fagus forests: Does the mosaic-cycle approach provide an appropriate model?

Rafat Podlaski
Abstract Question: The mosaic-cycle concept of forest dynamics dominates in Central Europe. According to this concept intermediate-scale disturbances only accelerate the forest break-up under existing cycles of forest development. Is such an approach correct, or should new developmental cycles be elaborated for intermediate-scale disturbances? Location: Near-natural Abies alba - Fagus sylvatica forests in the ,wiétokrzyski National Park in Central Poland. In these forests intermediate-scale disturbances occurred between 1970 and 1990. Methods: Data were collected twice in areas surrounding 212 permanent sample points (in 1994 and 2004). Two increment cores were taken from 259 sample Abies trees. The effect of intermediate-scale disturbances on radial increment of Abies was assessed. Probabilities of stand transition during a 10-year period between individual stages and phases of development of the mixed forest were calculated. The development stages and phases were arranged into hypothetical succession series of successive changes. Results: In 1994 70 stands and in 2004, 47 stands representing stages and phases containing the older generation formed by trees > 100,150 years were found. Also, in 1994 142 and in 2004, 165 stands representing stages and phases containing the younger generations only, formed by trees < 100-150 years, were recorded. Stages and phases containing only younger generations do not occur in the existing forest development cycle which does not consider the influence of intermediate-scale disturbances separately. Two developmental cycles, which take into account the presence of the older generation and the younger generations only (under conditions of the occurrence of intermediate-scale disturbances), are proposed. Conclusion: The mosaic-cycle concept of forest dynamics can be used to analyse the dynamics of Central European near-natural mixed-species forests, but new developmental cycles should be elaborated for intermediate-scale disturbances. [source]

Ice-storm disturbance and long-term forest dynamics in the Adirondack Mountains

Charles W. Lafon
Ice storms cause periodic disturbance to temperate forests of eastern North America. They are the primary agents of disturbance in some eastern forests. In this paper, a forest gap model is employed to explore consequences of ice storms for the long-term dynamics of Tsuga canadensis-northem hardwoods forests. The gap model LINKAGES was modified to simulate periodic ice storm disturbance in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. To adapt the gap model for this purpose, field data on ice storm disturbance are used to develop a polytomous logistic regression model of tree damage. The logistic regression model was then incorporated into the modified forest gap model, LINK ADIR, to determine the type of damage sustained by each simulated tree. The logistic regression model predicts high probabilities of bent boles or severe bole damage (leaning, snapping, or uprooting) in small-diameter trees, and increasing probability of canopy damage as tree size increases. Canopy damage is most likely on gentle slopes; the probability of severe bole damage increases with increasing slope angle. In the LINKADIR simulations, tree damage type determines the probability of mortality; trees with severe bole damage are assigned the highest mortality rate. LINKADIR predicts Tsuga canadensis dominance in mesophytic old-growth forests not disturbed by ice storms. When ice storms are simulated, the model predicts Acer saccharum -dominated forests with higher species richness. These results suggest that ice storms may function as intermediate disturbances that enhance species richness in forested Adirondack landscapes. [source]

Long-term post-fire changes in the northeastern boreal forest of Quebec

Louis De Grandpré
Abstract. Natural dynamics in the boreal forest is influenced by disturbances. Fire recurrence affects community development and landscape diversity. Forest development was studied in the northeastern boreal forest of Quebec. The objective was to describe succession following fire and to assess the factors related to the changes in forest composition and structure. The study area is located in northeastern Quebec, 50 km north of Baie-Comeau. We used the forest inventory data gathered by the Ministère des Ressources naturelles du Québec (MRNQ). In circular plots of 400 m2, the diameter at breast height (DBH) of all stems of tree species greater than 10 cm was recorded and in 40 m2 subplots, stems smaller than 10 cm were measured. A total of 380 plots were sampled in an area of 6000 km2. The fire history reconstruction was done based on historical maps, old aerial photographs and field sampling. A time-since-fire class, a deposit type, slope, slope aspect and altitude were attributed to each plot. Each plot was also described according to species richness and size structure characteristics. Traces of recent disturbance were also recorded in each plot. Changes in forest composition were described using ordination analyses (NMDS and CCA) and correlated with the explanatory variables. Two successional pathways were observed in the area and characterized by the early dominance of intolerant hardwood species or Picea mariana. With time elapsed since the last fire, composition converged towards either Picea mariana, Abies balsamea or a mixture of both species and the size structure of the coniferous dominated stands got more irregular. The environmental conditions varied between stands and explained part of the variability in composition. Their effect tended to decrease with increasing time elapsed since fire, as canopy composition was getting more similar. Gaps may be important to control forest dynamics in old successional communities. [source]

Seed removal in two coexisting oak species: ecological consequences of seed size, plant cover and seed-drop timing

OIKOS, Issue 9 2008
Ignacio M. Pérez-Ramos
Seed predation and dispersal can critically influence plant community structure and dynamics. Inter-specific differences arising at these early stages play a crucial role on tree recruitment patterns, which in turn could influence forest dynamics and species segregation in heterogeneous environments such as Mediterranean forests. We investigated removal rates from acorns set onto the ground in two coexisting Mediterranean oak species ,Quercus canariensis and Q. suber, in southern Spain. We developed maximum likelihood estimators to investigate the main factors controlling probabilities of seed removal and to describe species-specific functional responses. To account for inter-specific differences in seed-drop timing, two experiments were established: a simultaneous exposure of acorns of the two species (synchronous experiments) and a seed exposure following their natural seed-drop phenology (diachronic experiments). A total of 1536 acorns were experimentally distributed along a wide and natural gradient of plant cover, and removal was periodically monitored for three months at two consecutive years (with contrasting differences in seed production and thus seed availability on the ground). The probability of seed removal increased with plant cover (leaf area index, LAI) for the two oak species. Inter-specific differences in acorn removal were higher in open areas and disappeared in closed microhabitats, especially during a non-mast year. Despite later seed-drop, Q. suber acorns were removed faster and at a higher proportion than those of Q. canariensis. The higher probability of seed removal for this species could be attributed to its larger seed size compared to Q. canariensis, as inter-specific differences were less pronounced when similar sized acorns were exposed. Inter-specific differences in seed removal, arising from seed size variability and microsite heterogeneity, could be of paramount importance in oak species niche separation, driving stand dynamics and composition along environmental gradients. [source]

Challenging Neo-Malthusian Deforestation Analyses in West Africa's Dynamic Forest Landscapes

Melissa Leach
Many influential analyses of West Africa take it for granted that ,original' forest cover has progressively been converted and savannized during the twentieth century by growing populations. By testing these assumptions against historical evidence, exemplified for Ghana and Ivory Coast, this article shows that these neo-Malthusian deforestation narratives badly misrepresent people,forest relationships. They obscure important nonlinear dynamics, as well as widespread anthropogenic forest expansion and landscape enrichment. These processes are better captured, in broad terms, by a neo-Boserupian perspective on population,forest dynamics. However, comprehending variations in locale-specific trajectories of change requires fuller appreciation of social differences in environmental and resource values, of how diverse institutions shape resource access and control, and of ecological variability and path dependency in how landscapes respond to use. The second half of the article présents and illustrates such a "landscape structuretion" perspective through case studies from the forest,savanna transition zones of Ghana and Guinea. [source]

Effects of invasive alien kahili ginger (Hedychium gardnerianum) on native plant species regeneration in a Hawaiian rainforest

V. Minden
Abstract Questions: Does the invasive alien Hedychium gardnerianum (1) replace native understory species, (2) suppress natural regeneration of native plant species, (3) increase the invasiveness of other non-native plants and (4) are native forests are able to recover after removal of H. gardnerianum. Location: A mature rainforest in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park on the island of Hawai'i (about 1200 m a.s.l.; precipitation approximately 2770 mm yr,1). Study sites included natural plots without effects of alien plants, ginger plots with a H. gardnerianum -dominated herb layer and cleared plots treated with herbicide to remove alien plants. Methods: Counting mature trees, saplings and seedlings of native and alien plant species. Using non-parametric H -tests to compare impact of H. gardnerianum on the structure of different sites. Results: Results confirmed the hypothesis that H. gardnerianum has negative effects on natural forest dynamics. Lower numbers of native tree seedlings and saplings were found on ginger-dominated plots. Furthermore, H. gardnerianum did not show negative effects on the invasive alien tree species Psidium cattleianum. Conclusions: This study reveals that where dominance of H. gardnerianum persists, regeneration of the forest by native species will be inhibited. Furthermore, these areas might experience invasion by P. cattleianum, resulting in displacement of native canopy species in the future, leading to a change in forest structure and loss of other species dependent on natural rainforest, such as endemic birds. However, if H. gardnerianum is removed the native Hawaiian forest is likely to regenerate and regain its natural structure. [source]

Landscape metrics indicate differences in patterns and dominant controls of ribbon forests in the Rocky Mountains, USA

Matthew F. Bekker
Abstract Question: Do landscape metrics reflect differences in dominant factors controlling ribbon forest patterns among sites? Location: West Flattop Mountain, Glacier National Park, Montana (Flattop); Medicine Bow Mountains, Wyoming (Medicine Bow); Park Range, Colorado (Park Range). Methods: High-resolution aerial photography was used to delineate ribbon forest patches, and to calculate landscape metrics to distinguish between long, narrow, regular patterns expected from strong microtopographic control, and smaller, more compact, and variable patterns expected from wind-snowdrift interactions. Results: All but two metrics were significantly different (P<0.05) among the three sites. The rank and magnitude of differences indicated that ribbons at Flattop and Park Range are more similar to each other than to those at Medicine Bow. Flattop ribbons were also more elongated, narrower and less variable than those at Park Range, suggesting differences in the type and strength of structural control. Previous research showed that Flattop ribbons occupy regular lithologic ridges, while our observations of ribbons and analysis of geologic maps suggests weaker and less consistent microtopographic control at Park Range, and dominant wind-snowdrift interactions with little to no microtopographic influence at Medicine Bow. Conclusions: Landscape metrics indicate differences in pattern among sites that reflect differences in dominant factors influencing ribbon forest development and maintenance. Explanations of ribbon forest dynamics are site-specific and are more complex than is currently recognized. The sites vary in the level of endogenous versus exogenous control of ribbon patterns, and consequently in the sensitivity of this phenomenon to climate. [source]

Phylogeography of the Japanese giant flying squirrel, Petaurista leucogenys (Rodentia: Sciuridae): implication of glacial refugia in an arboreal small mammal in the Japanese Islands

To test the association between temperate forest dynamics and glacial refugia for arboreal small mammals, we studied the phylogeography of the Japanese giant flying squirrel (Petaurista leucogenys) using complete mitochondrial cytochrome b gene sequences (1140 bp). This squirrel is endemic to three of Japan's main islands: Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu. We examined 58 specimens of P. leucogenys collected from 40 localities in Japan. Additionally, two individuals with unknown sampling localities were included in phylogenetic analyses. There were 54 haplotypes of P. leucogenys. We found five major phylogroups (Northern, Central, South-eastern, South-western, and Southern). These phylogroups may have originated from glacial refugia during the Late Pleistocene. After the last glaciation, the Northern phylogroup, widely distributed in eastern Japan, could have extensively expanded northward from its refugia. By contrast, in western Japan, population expansion was restricted to western Japan. All members of four phylogroups existed in western Japan during glaciations. The complicated phylogeographical pattern of P. leucogenys populations originating from western Japan may have resulted from the long history. © 2009 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2009, 98, 47,60. [source]

Species-Specific Growth Responses to Climate Variations in Understory Trees of a Central African Rain Forest

BIOTROPICA, Issue 4 2010
Camille Couralet
ABSTRACT Basic knowledge of the relationships between tree growth and environmental variables is crucial for understanding forest dynamics and predicting vegetation responses to climate variations. Trees growing in tropical areas with a clear seasonality in rainfall often form annual growth rings. In the understory, however, tree growth is supposed to be mainly affected by interference for access to light and other resources. In the semi-deciduous Mayombe forest of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the evergreen species Aidia ochroleuca, Corynanthe paniculata and Xylopia wilwerthii dominate the understory. We studied their wood to determine whether they form annual growth rings in response to changing climate conditions. Distinct growth rings were proved to be annual and triggered by a common external factor for the three species. Species-specific site chronologies were thus constructed from the cross-dated individual growth-ring series. Correlation analysis with climatic variables revealed that annual radial stem growth is positively related to precipitation during the rainy season but at different months. The growth was found to associate with precipitation during the early rainy season for Aidia but at the end of the rainy season for Corynanthe and Xylopia. Our results suggest that a dendrochronological approach allows the understanding of climate,growth relationships in tropical forests, not only for canopy trees but also for evergreen understory species and thus arguably for the whole tree community. Global climate change influences climatic seasonality in tropical forest areas, which is likely to result in differential responses across species with a possible effect on forest composition over time. Abstract in French is available at [source]

Hurricane Disturbance Alters Secondary Forest Recovery in Puerto Rico

BIOTROPICA, Issue 2 2010
Dan F.B. Flynn
ABSTRACT Land-use history and large-scale disturbances interact to shape secondary forest structure and composition. How introduced species respond to disturbances such as hurricanes in post-agriculture forest recovery is of particular interest. To examine the effects of hurricane disturbance and previous land use on forest dynamics and composition, we revisited 37 secondary forest stands in former cattle pastures across Puerto Rico representing a range of exposure to the winds of Hurricane Georges in 1998. Stands ranged from 21 to>80 yr since agricultural abandonment and were measured 9 yr posthurricane. Stem density decreased as stands aged, while basal area and species richness tended to increase. Hurricane disturbance exerted contrasting effects on stand structure, contingent on stand age. In older stands, the basal area of large trees fell, shifting to a stand structure characteristic of younger stands, while the basal area of large trees tended to rise in younger stands with increasing hurricane disturbance. These results demonstrate that large-scale natural disturbances can alter the successional trajectory of secondary forest stands recovering from human land use, but stand age, precipitation and soil series were better predictors of changes in stand structure across all study sites. Species composition changed substantially between census intervals, but neither age nor hurricane disturbance consistently predicted species composition change. However, exposure to hurricane winds tended to decrease the abundance of the introduced tree Spathodea campanulata, particularly in smaller size classes. In all sites the abundance of the introduced tree Syzygium jambos showed a declining trend, again most strongly in smaller size classes, suggesting natural thinning through succession. Abstract in Spanish is available at [source]

Woody Debris in the Mangrove Forests of South Florida1

BIOTROPICA, Issue 1 2005
Ken W. Krauss
ABSTRACT Woody debris is abundant in hurricane-impacted forests. With a major hurricane affecting South Florida mangroves approximately every 20 yr, carbon storage and nutrient retention may be influenced greatly by woody debris dynamics. In addition, woody debris can influence seedling regeneration in mangrove swamps by trapping propagules and enhancing seedling growth potential. Here, we report on line-intercept woody debris surveys conducted in mangrove wetlands of South Florida 9,10 yr after the passage of Hurricane Andrew. The total volume of woody debris for all sites combined was estimated at 67 m3/ha and varied from 13 to 181 m3/ha depending upon differences in forest height, proximity to the storm, and maximum estimated wind velocities. Large volumes of woody debris were found in the eyewall region of the hurricane, with a volume of 132 m3/ha and a projected woody debris biomass of approximately 36 t/ha. Approximately half of the woody debris biomass averaged across all sites was associated as small twigs and branches (fine woody debris), since coarse woody debris >7.5 cm felled during Hurricane Andrew was fairly well decomposed. Much of the small debris is likely to be associated with post-hurricane forest dynamics. Hurricanes are responsible for large amounts of damage to mangrove ecosystems, and components of associated downed wood may provide a relative index of disturbance for mangrove forests. Here, we suggest that a fine:coarse woody debris ratio ,0.5 is suggestive of a recent disturbance in mangrove wetlands, although additional research is needed to corroborate such findings. [source]

Why Do Some Tropical Forests Have So Many Species of Trees?

BIOTROPICA, Issue 4 2004
Egbert Giles Leigh Jr.
ABSTRACT Understanding why there are so many kinds of tropical trees requires learning, not only how tree species coexist, but what factors drive tree speciation and what governs a tree clade's diversification rate. Many report that hybrid sterility evolves very slowly between separated tree populations. If so, tree species rarely originate by splitting of large populations. Instead, they begin with few trees. The few studies available suggest that reproductive isolation between plant populations usually results from selection driven by lowered fitness of hybrids: speciation is usually a response to a "niche opportunity." Using Hubbell's neutral theory of forest dynamics as a null hypothesis, we show that if new tree species begin as small populations, species that are now common must have spread more quickly than chance allows. Therefore, most tree species have some setting in which they can increase when rare. Trees face trade-offs in suitability for different microhabitats, different-sized clearings, different soils and climates, and resistance to different pests. These trade-offs underlie the mechanisms maintaining ,-diversity and species turnover. Disturbance and microhabitat specialization appear insufficient to maintain ,-diversity of tropical trees, although they may maintain tree diversity north of Mexico or in northern Europe. Many studies show that where trees grow readily, tree diversity is higher and temperature and rainfall are less seasonal. The few data available suggest that pest pressure is higher, maintaining higher tree diversity, where winter is absent. Tree a-diversity is also higher in regions with more tree species, which tend to be larger, free for a longer time from major shifts of climate, or in the tropics, where there are more opportunities for local coexistence. RESUMEN Comprender por qué hay tantos tipos de árboles tropicales, se requiere aprender no sólo cómo las especies de árboles coexisten, sino también, cuáles factores conducen a su especiación, y qué determina la velocidad de diversificación de un clado de árboles. Muchos reportan que la esterilidad hibrida evoluciona muy lentamente entre poblaciones separadas de árboles. De ser asi, las especies de árboles raramente se originarian por la separación de grandes poblaciones; más bien empezarian con pocos árboles. Los pocos estudios disponibles sugieren que el aislamiento reproductivo entre las poblaciones vegetales usualmente resulta de selección derivada del bajo éxito de los hibridos: la especiación general-mente responde a una "oportunidad de nicho". Usando la teoria neutral de Hubbell de dinámica de bosques como hipótesis nula, nosotros mostramos que si las nuevas especies de árboles comienzan como poblaciones pequeñas, especies que ahora son communes deberian haberse expandido más rápido que lo que el azar permite. Por lo tanto, la mayoria de las especies de árboles tendrian alguna condición donde sus poblaciones podrian crecer cunando son raras. Los árboles enfrentan compromises en su adecuación por diferentes microhábitats, claros de differentes tamanos, diferentes suelos y climas, y resistencia a differentes plagas. Esros compromises sirven de base para los mecanismos que mantienen la diversidad , y al reemplazo especial de especies. Los distrubios y la especialización de microhabitats parecen ser insuficiente para mantener la diversidad , de árboles tropicales, sin embargo elloss pueden mantener diversidad de árboles al norte de México o en Europa del norte. Muchos estudios muestran que en lugares donde los árboles cresen fácilmente, la diversidad de árboles es mayor donde la temperatura y la lluvia son menos estacionales. Los pocos estudios disponibles sugieren que la presión de las plagas es mayor, manteniendo asl la diversidad de árboles en lugares donde no hay invierno. La diversidad , de árboles también es más alta en regions con más especies de árboles, las culaes tienden a ser más largas, exentas por un largo periodo de tiempo de grandes cambios climáticos, oen los trópicos donde hay más oportunidades de coexistir localmente. [source]