Effects of local biotic neighbors and habitat heterogeneity on tree and shrub seedling survival in an old-growth temperate forest
- 815 Downloads
Seedling dynamics play a crucial role in determining species distributions and coexistence. Exploring causes of variation in seedling dynamics can therefore provide key insights into the factors affecting these phenomena. We examined the relative importance of biotic neighborhood processes and habitat heterogeneity using survival data for 5,827 seedlings in 39 tree and shrub species over 2 years from an old-growth temperate forest in northeastern China. We found significant negative density-dependence effects on survival of tree seedlings, and limited effects of habitat heterogeneity (edaphic and topographic variables) on survival of shrub seedlings. The importance of negative density dependence on young tree seedling survival was replaced by habitat in tree seedlings ≥4 years old. As expected, negative density dependence was more apparent in gravity-dispersed species compared to wind-dispersed and animal-dispersed species. Moreover, we found that a community compensatory trend existed for trees. Therefore, although negative density dependence was not as pervasive as in other forest communities, it is an important mechanism for the maintenance of community diversity in this temperate forest. We conclude that both negative density dependence and habitat heterogeneity drive seedling survival, but their relative importance varies with seedling age classes and species traits.
KeywordsNegative density dependence Niche partitioning Seedling dynamics Community compensatory trend Generalized linear mixed models
We thank Drs. Liza S. Comita, Fangliang He, Xiangcheng Mi, Luxiang Lin, and Lei Chen, ChiaHao ChangYang for helpful suggestions on data analysis. We thank Drs. Walter P. Carson, Erin Kurten, C. E. Timothy Paine and an anonymous reviewer for critical comments for the manuscript. We also thank Liwei Wang for his field work and data collection. This work is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31061160188 and No. 31011120470), the Knowledge Innovation Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (No. KZCX2-EW-401 and No. KSCX2-EW-Z-5). The publication of this manuscript has been approved by all co-authors.
- Bates D, Maechler M, Bolker B (2010) lme4: Linear mixed-effects models using S4 classes. R Package Version: 0.999375-37 ednGoogle Scholar
- Burnham KP, Anderson DR (2002) Model selection and multimodel inference: a practical information-theoretic approach. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Connell JH (1971) On the role of natural enemies in preventing competitive exclusion in some marine animals and in rain forest trees. In: den Boer PJ, Gradwell GR (eds) Dynamics of Populations. Centre for Agricultural Publishing and Documentation, Wageningen, pp 298–312Google Scholar
- Grothendieck G (2010) sqldf: Perform SQL Selects on R Data Frames. 0.3–5 ednGoogle Scholar
- Hao ZQ, Li BH, Zhang J, Wang XG, Ye J, Yao XL (2008) Broad-leaved Korean pine (Pinus koraiensis) mixed forest plot in Changbaishan (CBS) of China: community composition and structure. Acta Phytoecol Sinica 32:238–250Google Scholar
- Hubbell SP (2001) The unified neural theory of biodiversity and biogeography. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
- Queenborough SA, Burslem DFRP, Garwood NC, Valencia R (2009) Taxonomic scale-dependence of habitat niche partitioning and biotic neighbourhood on survival of tropical tree seedlings. Proc R Soc Lond B 276:4197–4205Google Scholar
- Wang Z, Xu ZB, Li X (1980) The main forest types and their features of community structure in northern slope of Changbai Mountain. Res For Ecosyst 1:25–42Google Scholar
- Wilson BF (1995) Shrub stems: form and function. In: Gerter BL (ed) Plant stems: physiology and functional morphology. Academic, New York, pp 91–102Google Scholar
- Wright J (2002) Plant diversity in tropical forests: a review of mechanisms of species coexistence. Oecologia 130:1–14Google Scholar
- Yang H, Li D, Wang B, Han J (1985) Distribution patterns of dominant tree species on northern slope of Changbai mountain. Res For Ecosyst 5:1–14Google Scholar