Plant Ecology

, Volume 199, Issue 1, pp 125–135 | Cite as

Spatio-temporal patterns of tree community dynamics in a tropical forest fragment in South-east Brazil

  • Pedro Higuchi
  • Ary T. Oliveira-Filho
  • Daniel P. Bebber
  • Nick D. Brown
  • Ana Carolina Silva
  • Evandro L. M. Machado


The tree community (dbh > 5 cm) of a fragment of tropical montane semi-deciduous forest in South-east Brazil was repeatedly surveyed over a 19-year period in order to assess spatial and temporal patterns of dynamics. The surveys took place in 1987, 1992, 1996, 2001, and 2006 in a grid of 126 20 × 20 m permanent plots covering almost the entire fragment (5.8 ha). Overall patterns indicated that a self-thinning process has taken place in the fragment since 1992. Community dynamics varied in space and time, with most dynamics highly spatially clustered. With exception of mortality rates, there were no changes in the spatial patterns of community dynamics through time. No relation between edges and dynamics variables was found. Most species with increasing density and basal area were shade-bearers, while most decreasing species were canopy light demanders and pioneers.


Forest fragmentation Spatial patterns Temporal patterns Tree dynamics Tropical montane semi-deciduous forest 



This research was supported by CAPES (Coordenadoria de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Ensino Superior) doctorate scholarship to the first author. We thank two anonymous reviewers who provided useful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pedro Higuchi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ary T. Oliveira-Filho
    • 3
  • Daniel P. Bebber
    • 4
  • Nick D. Brown
    • 4
  • Ana Carolina Silva
    • 1
  • Evandro L. M. Machado
    • 3
  1. 1.Forestry DepartmentSanta Catarina State UniversityLagesBrazil
  2. 2.Departamento de Engenharia FlorestalUDESC/LAGESLagesBrazil
  3. 3.Forestry DepartmentFederal University of LavrasLavrasBrazil
  4. 4.Plant Science DepartmentUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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