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Comparative recruitment patterns of two non-pioneer canopy tree species in French Guiana

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Summary

A comparative study was conducted on the recruitment patterns of two non-pioneer tree species, one dispersed by arboreal mammals and birds (Virola michelii, Myristicaceae) and the other by rodents (Moronobea coccinea, Clusiaceae). These species differ in fruiting phenology, seed size, dispersal distance, germination time and seed nutrient exhaustion. In both species, establishment patterns were consistent with the escape hypothesis and the Janzen-Connell model. Virola seeds need not be buried to survive and germinate, and may produce a seedling carpet beneath the parent. Moronobea seedlings only establish from seeds buried by scatterhoarding rodents in the surrounding understory. One-year survival of Virola seedlings was 47.8% and was greater >10 m than < 10 m from the largest parent tree. In contrast, survival of Moronobea seedlings was 56% 3 years after seed dispersal. Survival of juveniles was greater in gaps than in the understory for Virola but not for Moronobea. Moronobea survival was greater than Virola survival in both microhabitats. Both species establish in the understory, yet both grew faster in gaps. Virola appeared to be more gap-dependent than Moronobea which may persist several years in the understory until a gap occurs. Virola and Moronobea illustrate two intermediate recruitment patterns along an hypothetical continuum of nonpioneer species replacement (Bazzaz and Pickett 1980; Swaine and Whitmore 1988).

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Forget, PM. Comparative recruitment patterns of two non-pioneer canopy tree species in French Guiana. Oecologia 85, 434–439 (1991). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00320622

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