Biodiversity Science ›› 2018, Vol. 26 ›› Issue (6): 535-544.doi: 10.17520/biods.2018056

• Original Papers • Previous Article     Next Article

Difference in survival response of tree species to neighborhood crowding in a lower subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest of Dinghushan

Qinhong Ma1, 2, 3, Yanpeng Li1, 2, 3, Juyu Lian1, 2, Wanhui Ye1, 2, *()   

  1. 1 Key Laboratory of Vegetation Restoration and Management of Degraded Ecosystems, South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510650
    2 Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Applied Botany, South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510650
    3 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
  • Received:2018-02-12 Accepted:2018-04-02 Online:2018-09-11
  • Ye Wanhui
  • About author:

    # Co-first authors

Identifying the mechanisms that drive community structure and dynamics is one of the most fundamental goals in ecology. The local neighborhood in which trees grow significantly influences species survival. In order to understand the mechanisms underlying the various survival responses to neighborhood crowding among species, we compared the survival responses of focal tree species through modeling tree survival in terms of neighborhood effects. These effects were quantified in different ways, based on the survival monitoring and functional trait data of 90 species commonly observed in a lower tropical evergreen broad-leaved forest 20-ha plot in the Dinghu Mountains. We found that among all species tested, 58% showed sensitivity to neighborhood effects and that the survival response of 50% were mediated by functional trait differences among co-occurring species. Shade tolerance of species is associated with species sensitivity to its neighborhood as species with lower shade tolerance are intended to be sensitive to their neighbors. Lower specific leaf area, higher leaf dry matter content, wood density and maximum diameter at breast height indicate higher shade tolerance. Niche difference associated with light acquisition strategies may underlie species coexistence at the neighborhood scale. Our study provides new insights into quantifying neighborhood interaction and species coexistence at the local neighborhood scale.

Key words: neighborhood crowding, survival response, trait difference, functional trait, shade tolerance

Table 1

Factor loadings of the principal components of the PCA on functional traits"

功能性状 Functional trait PC1 PC2 PC3 PC4
比叶面积 Specific leaf area 0.582 -0.062 0.088 0.237
Leaf dry matter content
-0.367 0.489 -0.059 -0.178
叶面积 Leaf area 0.289 -0.378 -0.558 -0.337
叶片厚度 Leaf thickness -0.366 -0.512 -0.273 -0.282
Chlorophyll concentration
-0.339 -0.324 -0.177 0.816
木材密度 Wood density -0.422 -0.201 0.367 -0.196
最大胸径 Maximum
diameter at breast height
-0.126 0.455 -0.66 0.121
Cumulative interpretation (%)
33.2 56.6 71.7 82.1

Table 2

Selection of models on survival for 90 species"

模型 Model 合计
Absolute difference
Hierarchical difference
基本模型 Basic model 38 NA NA
邻体等价模型 Neighbour equivalence model 7 NA NA
同种密度效应模型 Onspecific density effect model 5 NA NA
Models based on trait
比叶面积 Specific leaf area 6 6 0
叶干物质含量 Leaf dry matter content 9 8 1
叶面积 Leaf area 8 6 2
叶片厚度 Leaf thickness 1 0 1
叶绿素含量 Chlorophyll concentration 6 5 1
木材密度 Wood density 3 0 3
最大胸径 Maximum diameter at breast height 4 4 0
PCA轴1 PCA axis 1 1 NA NA
PCA轴1-4 PCA axes 1-4 2 NA NA
总计 Total 90 29 8

Fig. 1

Distribution of abundance for species with different survival response sensitivity to neighborhood crowding are showed. Species sensitive to neighborhood crowding are in black while insensitive ones in grey. Median values of abundance are indicated in dashed lines. The abundance data were log transformed beforehand."

Fig. 2

Shade tolerance index of species with different response sensitivity to neighborhood crowding, where IS and S separately represent the species group insensitive and sensitive to neighborhood."

Fig. 3

Relationship between shade tolerance index. (A) Specific leaf area (SLA); (B) Leaf dry matter content (LDMC); (C) Leaf area (LA); (D) Leaf thickness (LT); (E) Chlorophyll concentration (Chl); (F) Wood density (WD); (G) Maximum diameter at breast height (MDBH). Trends of shade tolerance index with each trait are indicated in dashed lines."

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