Comparison of seedling recruitment under arborescent palms in two Neotropical forests

Yung Ho Wang, Carol Augspurger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Certain overlying strata in forests may disproportionately reduce seedling density and species richness. For eight arborescent palm species, we quantified the relative restriction of seedling recruitment under individual palms versus non-palm sites and extended to the landscape scale by quantifying the total area covered by arborescent palms at Barro Colorado Island (BCI), Panama and La Selva Biological Station, Costa Rica. We also examined whether differences among palm species in restricting seedling recruitment were associated with differences in crown architecture, litter depth, and light availability. Woody seedlings had lower mean density/m2 and mean number of species/m 2 under individual palms than at non-palm sites for all four palm species at BCI, but for none at La Selva. Estimated species richness for woody seedlings, derived via rarefaction, was lower under palm than non-palm microsites at both BCI and La Selva, but not for non-woody seedlings. Differences in seedling density corresponded to some key architectural characters that differed among the palm species. Light availability was lower under palm than non-palm microsites at both BCI and La Selva, but only estimated species richness of woody seedlings at BCI was strongly correlated with % canopy openness. The coverage of arborescent palms was much lower at BCI than La Selva. Therefore, at BCI, the relative restriction of woody seedling recruitment under individual palms does not accumulate greatly at the landscape scale. At La Selva, for woody seedlings, only estimated species richness was relatively limited under palms, and non-woody seedlings had relatively lower mean density/m2 and mean number of species/m2 under only one palm species. Therefore, the relative restriction of seedling recruitment by arborescent palms at La Selva is limited at both individual and landscape scales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)533-545
Number of pages13
JournalOecologia
Volume147
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2006

Keywords

  • Crown architecture
  • Landscape scale
  • Light availability
  • Rarefied species richness
  • Seedling density

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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