Biodiversity Science ›› 2000, Vol. 08 ›› Issue (2): 172-179.doi: 10.17520/biods.2000025

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Patch dynamics in tropical forests and the maintenance of tree species diversity

CAO Min, FU Xian-Hui, YANG Yi-Guang, TANG Yong, HE Yong-Tao   

  1. 1)  Department of Forest Ecology , Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden , Chinese Academy of Sciences , Kunming  650223
    2)  Institute of Ecology and Geobotany , Yunnan University , Kunming  650091
  • Received:1999-09-27 Revised:2000-02-29 Online:2000-05-20
  • CAO Min

As one of the elements contributing to landscape , patches have direct effects on the spatial patterns of landscape and functional interactions among the landscape cells. Patch dynamics leads to the change in landscape patterns. Heterogeneous patches commonly occur in tropical forests. This is to say , climax forest also maintains patches of different species composition and community structure. Forest growth cycle induced by natural events or human disturbance brings about the spatial mosaic of different patches. In any spot of forest , the patches at different growth phases , i. e. , gap phase , building phase and mature phase , turn over. In the process of the growth cycle , the replacement of floristic elements takes place , too. These patches , on the other hand , shift on the forest background. The species diversity of tropical forests is maintained in the dynamics of forest patches.

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