Advertisement

Community Ecology

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 189–195 | Cite as

Recruitment limitation of dominant tree species with varying seed masses in a subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest

  • Y. Luo
  • F. He
  • S. YuEmail author
Article

Abstract

Recruitment limitation has been hypothesized to promote the maintenance of high species diversity in forests by slowing down competitive exclusion. However, the difference of recruitment limitation for tree species with varying seed masses, which is a common phenomenon in tropical or subtropical forests, is largely unknown. In this study we conducted a seed sowing experiment for five dominant tree species with varying seed mass (a proxy of dispersal ability) in a subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest at different successional stages to test the hypothesis that the determinants of species recruitment vary with their seed masses in Heishiding Nature Reserve (Guangdong Province, China). The effects of seed predators, soil pathogens, light conditions, plant litter, seed additions, and the presence of adult conspecific trees on the performance of seeds and seedlings for the five species were examined. We particularly investigated the effects of habitat hazards and seed size on the relative importance of dispersal limitation and establishment limitation. The results show that all five sowing species experienced recruitment limitation at the microsite level, although the causes of the limitation of these species varied between pathogen infection, animal predation, litter covering and shading. Seedling recruitment of the wind-dispersed, small-seeded species was mostly limited by microsite condition, while large-seeded species were mostly limited by dispersal ability.

Keywords

Dispersal limitation Microsite limitation Seed addition Seedling establishment Species coexistence 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Alcántara, J.M., Rey, P.J., Sánchez-Lafuente, A.M. and Valera, F. 2000. Early effects of rodent post-dispersal seed predation on the outcome of the plant-seed disperser interaction. Oikos 88: 362–370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Augspurger, C.K. 1984. Seedling survival of tropical tree species–interactions of dispersal distance, light-gaps, and pathogens. Ecology 65: 1705–1712.Google Scholar
  3. Augspurger, C.K. and Kelly, C.K. 1984. Pathogen mortality of tropical tree seedlings: experimental studies of the effects of dispersal distance, seedling density, and light conditions. Oecologia 61: 211–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bates, D. 2010. lme4: Mixed-effects modeling with R. Springer, New York.Google Scholar
  5. Bell, T., Freckleton, R.P. and Lewis, O.T. 2006. Plant pathogens drive density-dependent seedling mortality in a tropical tree. Ecol. Lett. 9: 569–574.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Blendinger, P.G. and Díaz-Vélez, M.C. 2010. Experimental field test of spatial variation in rodent predation of nuts relative to distance and seed density. Oecologia 163: 415–423.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Clark, D.A. and Clark, D.B. 1984. Spacing dynamics of a tropical rain forest tree: evaluation of the Janzen-Connell model. Am. Nat. 124: 769–788.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Connell, J.H. 1971. On the role of natural enemies in preventing competitive exclusion in some marine animals and in rain forest trees. In: Boer, P.J.D. and Gradwell, G.R. (eds.), Dynamics of Populations. PUDOC, Wageningen, pp. 298–312.Google Scholar
  9. Cuevas, J.G. and Arroyo, M.T.K. 1999. Absence of a persistent seed bank in Nothofagus pumilio (Fagaceae) in Tierra del Fuego, Chile. Revista Chilena De Historia Natural 72: 73–82.Google Scholar
  10. Dalling, J.W. and Hubbell, S.P. 2002. Seed size, growth rate and gap microsite conditions as determinants of recruitment success for pioneer species. J. Ecol. 90: 557–568.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dupuy, J.M. and Chazdon, R.L. 2008. Interacting effects of canopy gap, understory vegetation and leaf litter on tree seedling recruitment and composition in tropical secondary forests. Forest Ecol. Manag. 255: 3716–3725.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Eriksson, O. and Jakobsson, A. 1998. Abundance, distribution and life histories of grassland plants: a comparative study of 82 species. J. Ecol. 86: 922– 933.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Freckleton, R.P. and Lewis, O.T. 2006. Pathogens, density dependence and the coexistence of tropical trees. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B. 273: 2909–2916.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hubbell, S.P., Foster, R.B., O’Brien, S.T., Harms, K.E., Condit, R., Wechsler, B., Wright, S.J. and de Lao, S.L. 1999. Light-gap disturbances, recruitment limitation, and tree diversity in a neotropical forest. Science 283: 554–557.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hulme, P.E. 1997. Post-dispersal seed predation and the establishment of vertebrate dispersed plants in Mediterranean scrublands. Oecologia 111: 91–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Janzen, D.H. 1970. Herbivores and the number of tree species in tropical forests. Am. Nat. 104: 501–528.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Klironomos, J.N. 2002. Feedback with soil biota contributes to plant rarity and invasiveness in communities. Nature 417: 67–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kneitel, J.M. and Chase, J.M. 2004. Trade-offs in community ecology: linking spatial scales and species coexistence. Ecol. Lett. 7: 69–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. LePage, P.T., Canham, C.D., Coates, K.D. and Bartemucci, P. 2000. Seed abundance versus substrate limitation of seedling recruitment in northern temperate forests of British Columbia. Can. J. Forest Res. 30: 415–427.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Makana, J.R. and S.C. Thomas 2004. Dispersal limits natural recruitment of African mahoganies. Oikos 106: 67–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. McEuen, A.B. and Curran, L.M. 2004. Seed dispersal and recruitment limitation across spatial scales in temperate forest fragments. Ecology 85: 507–518.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Moles, A.T. and Westoby, M. 2002. Seed addition experiments are more likely to increase recruitment in larger-seeded species. Oikos 99: 241–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Muller-Landau, H.C. 2008. Colonization-related trade-offs in tropical forests and their role in the maintenance of plant species diversity In: Carson, W.P. and Schnitzer, S.A. (eds.), Tropical Forest Community Ecology. Wiley-Blackwell, West Sussex, pp. 182–195.Google Scholar
  24. Muller-Landau, H.C. 2010. The tolerance–fecundity trade-off and the maintenance of diversity in seed size. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA 107: 4242–4247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Nathan, R. and Casagrandi, R. 2004. A simple mechanistic model of seed dispersal, predation and plant establishment: Janzen–Connell and beyond. J. Ecol. 92: 733–746.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Packer, A. and Clay, K. 2000. Soil pathogens and spatial patterns of seedling mortality in a temperate tree. Nature 404: 278–281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Pages, J.P., Pache, G., Joud, D., Magnan, N. and Michalet, R. 2003. Direct and indirect effects of shade on four forest tree seedlings in the French Alps. Ecology 84: 2741–2750.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Paine, C.E.T., Harms, K.E., Schnitzer, S.A. and Carson, W.P. 2008. Weak competition among tropical tree seedlings: Implications for species coexistence. Biotropica 40: 432–440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Petermann, J.S., Fergus, A.J.F., Turnbull, L.A. and Schmid, B. 2008. Janzen-Connell effects are widespread and strong enough to maintain diversity in grasslands. Ecology 89: 2399–2406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Rees, M., Condit, R., Crawley, M., Pacala, S. and Tilman, D. 2001. Long-term studies of vegetation dynamics. Science 293: 650–655.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Roth, J.K. and Vander Wall, S.B. 2005. Primary and secondary seed dispersal of bush chinquapin (Fagaceae) by scatterhoarding rodents. Ecology 86: 2428–2439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Scarpa, F.M. and Valio, I.F.M. 2008. Relationship between seed size and litter effects on early seedling establishment of 15 tropical tree species. J. Tropical Ecol. 24: 569–573.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Schupp, E.W. 1992. The Janzen-Connell model for tropical tree diversity: population implications and the importance of spatial scale. Am. Nat. 140: 526–530.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Svenning, J.C. and Wright, S.J. 2005. Seed limitation in a Panamanian forest. J. Ecol. 93: 853–862.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Turnbull, L.A., Crawley, M.J. and Rees, M. 2000. Are plant populations seed-limited? A review of seed sowing experiments. Oikos 88: 225–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Westoby, M., Leishman, M. and Lord, J. 1996. Comparative ecology of seed size and dispersal. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. London B. 351: 1309–1318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Liu, X., Liang, M., Etienne, R.S., Wang, Y., Staehelin, C. and Yu, S. 2012a. Experimental evidence for a phylogenetic Janzen-Connell effect in a subtropical forest. Ecol. Lett. 15: 111–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Liu, Y., Yu, S., Xie, Z-P and Staehelin, C. 2012b. Analysis of a negative plant-soil feedback in a subtropical monsoon forest. J. Ecol. 100: 1019–1028.Google Scholar
  39. Zeng, M., Li, D.G. and J. Yuan. 2004. Effect of the pesticide on the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in the soil of citrus orchard. Mycosystema 23: 429–433.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest 2013

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ecology, School of Life Sciences/State Key Laboratory of Biocontrol/Key Laboratory of Biodiversity Dynamics and Conservation of Guangdong Higher Education InstitutesSun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.College of ForestryGuangxi UniversityNanningChina
  3. 3.Department of Renewable ResourcesUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

Personalised recommendations