Different spatial organisation strategies of woody plant species in a montane cloud forest uri icon

abstract

  • The coexistence of a high number of species in the forest is a central issue in tropical ecology. In this paper, we aim to characterise the spatial pattern of woody species in an Andean montane cloud forest to determine whether differences exist among the species in terms of spatial organization and if so, whether these differences are related to the life-form, primary dispersal mode, shade tolerance or the diameter distribution of the species. For this purpose, we analysed the spatial pattern of each species as well as the spatial relationships between young and adult individuals. Almost all the analysed species showed a cluster pattern, followed by a random pattern at larger distances. The cluster size is more evident for the young trees whereas adult trees tended to be more randomly distributed. The shadetolerant species showed greater distances of aggregation than gap or medium-shade-tolerant species. Species primarily dispersed by wind and small birds showed larger distances of aggregation than species dispersed by mammals or big birds. All the under-story woody plants showed a notable cluster pattern, whereas canopy trees showed a variety of spatial patterns, with clustering at small scales being the most frequent. In the case of emergent trees, association was found between young and adult individuals on a large scale. Positive associations between young and adult individuals predominate at small scales for medium and shade tolerant species and at larger scales for bird-dispersed species whereas negative spatial associations at smaller scales were found for shade tolerant species and wind dispersed species. Our study confirms that conspecific organization varies among the woody plants in the analysed forest, and that the spatial pattern of woody plants is partially linked to shade tolerance, primary dispersal mode and life form of the species. (C) 2011 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • 2012
  • 2012