The regeneration of canopy and subeanopy species in a mid-elevation, primary rain forest in the Coastal Range of Isla de Chiloé (42°30′S), in the cold-temperate region of Chile, was studied by comparing seedling and sapling abundances under the forest canopy, and within 36 tree-fall gaps. The forest was dominated byAmomyrtus luma andLaurelia philippiana (33 and 32% of the main canopy individuals), and two subcanopy species (Myrceugenia ovata, andMyrceugenia planipes) were also important. Uncommon species in the canopy wereDrimys winteri, Amomyrtus meli, andRaphithamnus spinosus. Tree-fall gaps were created generally by the fall of several trees, and the main canopy species were the principal gap-makers. Gap sizes varied between 28 and 972 m2, with a mean of 197 m2. Seedling and sapling abundances indicate that the dominant species are capable of regenerating below the canopy, but they also germinate and show enhanced growth within small light gaps. For one of the common subcanopy species (M. planipes) and the two infrequent canopy species (D. winteri, andA. meli) regeneration seems to depend entirely on tree-fall gaps. Thus, in this forest, light gaps allow the persistence of infrequent canopy species, but seem less important for the regeneration and maintenance of dominant canopy species.
Disturbance Dominance Forest dynamics Gap-size Myrtaceae Tree-fall gap