J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2008, Vol. 50 ›› Issue (5): 513-521.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2008.00662.x

Special Issue: Ecology and Global Changes

• Bioenergy Plants •     Next Articles

Seed Dynamics in Relation to Gaps in a Tropical Montane Rainforest of Hainan Island, South China: (II) Seed Bank

Run-Guo Zang, Yi Ding and Wei-Yin Zhang   

Abstract: Spatial and temporal patterns of seed bank dynamics in relation to gaps in an old growth tropical montane rainforest of Hainan Island, South China, were studied over two consecutive years. From June 2001 to June 2003, soil seed bank sampling blocks were taken near each of the four sides of each seed trap and immediately put into a nursery for observation of seedling emergence dynamics in four seasons (each experiment in each season). The abundances of seedlings that emerged from seed banks showed the trend of vine functional group (VFG) > shrub functional group (SFG) > tree functional group (TFG) > herb functional group (HFG), but the trend in species richness of seedlings that emerged from the soil seed banks was TFG > VFG > SFG > HFG. The abundances of seedlings that emerged from seed banks in the three gap zones showed no significant differences, but significant differences did exist for the species richness. The time of sampling or seasons of experiments had significant influences on both the species richness and seedling abundances. The seedling emergence processes of each experiment all revealed the unimodal patterns. Few emergences occurred 1 year after each experiment. Compared with those under closed canopies, the recruitment rates from seed to seedlings and from seedlings to saplings in gaps were higher, but the mortality rates from saplings to big trees were also higher in the gaps.

Key words: functional groups, gap dynamics, Hainan Island, regeneration niche, seed bank, supply-side ecology, tropical montane rainforest.

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