J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2008, Vol. 50 ›› Issue (9): 1140-1150.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2008.00690.x

• Molecular Ecology and Evolution • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Spatial Patterns and Interspecific Associations of Three Canopy Species at Different Life Stages in a Subtropical Forest, China

Lin Li, Shi-Guang Wei, Zhong-Liang Huang, Wan-Hui Ye and Hong-Lin Cao   

  • Received:2007-09-03 Accepted:2008-02-12

Abstract: Spatial patterns of species at different life stages are an important aspect for understanding causal mechanisms that facilitate species co-existence. Using Ripley's univariate L(t) and bivariate L12(t) functions, we analyzed the spatial patterns and interspecific associations of three canopy species at different life history stages in a 20-ha subtropical forest plot in Dinghushan Nature Reserve. Based on diameter at breast height (DBH), four life stages were distinguished. Castanopsis chinensis and Schima superba showed a unimodal DBH distribution. Engelhardtia roxburghiana showed a bimodal curve. L(t) function analysis showed significantly aggregated distributions of all three species at later life stages and random distribution at early life stages at some scales. From the analysis of L12(t) function, the results showed the positive association was a dominant pattern for most species pairs at most scales but the intensity of association decreases with the increase of life stages. Juveniles of the three species had no negative intra- and interspecific associations with the older life stages. Only premature trees were suppressed by overmature trees at some scales. Considering these results, we found three canopy-dominant species that lacked regeneration. There was no direct competition occurring between understorey individuals. Young trees can grow well under conspecific species with two other species. Longevity and lack of regeneration led to a large number of trees stored in mature and overmature stages, therefore, intra- and inter-competition can be strong at later life stages. Based on diameter at breast height (DBH), four life stages were distinguished. Castanopsis chinensis and Schima superba showed a unimodal DBH distribution. Engelhardtia roxburghiana showed a bimodal curve. L(t) function analysis showed significantly aggregated distributions of all three species at later life stages and random distribution at early life stages at some scales. From the analysis of L12(t) function, the results showed the positive association was a dominant pattern for most species pairs at most scales but the intensity of association decreases with the increase of life stages. Juveniles of the three species had no negative intra- and interspecific with the older life stages. Only premature trees were suppressed by overmature trees at some scales. Considering these results, we found three canopy dominant species lack of regeneration. There was no direct competition occurring between understorey individuals. Young trees can grow well under conspecific species and other two species. Longevity and lack of regeneration led to large number of trees stored in mature and overmature stages, therefore, intra- and inter-competition can be strong at later life stages.

Key words: Castanopsis chinensis, Dinghushan, Engelhardtia roxburghiana, interspecific association, Schima superba, spatial pattern

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