Biodiversity Science ›› 2014, Vol. 22 ›› Issue (4): 449-457.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2014.14101

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Effects of density dependence on the spatial patterns of Quercus aliena var. acuteserrata trees in deciduous broad-leaved forest in the Baotianman Nature Reserve, central China

Ting Wang1, Siyuan Ren1, Zhiliang Yuan2, Yan Zhu3, Na Pan1, Luxin Li1, Yongzhong Ye2,*()   

  1. 1. Forestry College, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou 450002
    2. College of Life Sciences, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou 450002
    3. State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing 100093
  • Received:2014-05-26 Accepted:2014-07-16 Online:2014-07-24
  • Ye Yongzhong E-mail:yeyzh@163.com

To determine the contribution of density dependence to tree mortality in the transitional region between temperate and subtropical zone, a deciduous broad-leaf forest plot (100 m×100 m) in the Baotianman National Nature Reserve was selected and a pair-correlation function g(r) (the pair-correlation function) was employed to examine the spatial pattern of a single species. Individuals of the dominant species Quercus aliena var. acuteserrata were divided into three growth stages: saplings (1 cm ≤ DBH < 10 cm), juveniles (10 cm ≤ DBH < 20 cm), and adult trees (DBH ≥ 20 cm). Each stage was then divided into pre-mortality (including all living and dead trees) and post-mortality (only living trees) status to examine the contribution of density dependence to the spatial patterns of Q. aliena var. acuteserrata. The results showed that: (1) Pre-mortality Q. aliena var. acuteserrata trees showed an aggregated distribution pattern at r > 5 m scale. Post-mortality Q. aliena var. acuteserrata saplings and adult trees had a random distribution pattern at a 1-25 cm scale. Post-mortality juveniles had a random distribution pattern at r < 1.5 m and 2.5-4.5 m scales and an aggregated distribution pattern at r > 5 m scale. (2) The spatial pattern of adult trees was regarded as a control pattern accounting for environmental heterogeneity. The spatial pattern of pre- and post-mortality saplings and juveniles showed density-dependent distribution responses by random labeling null model with a case-control design; (3) Pre-mortality saplings and juveniles showed a clumped distribution around adult trees, whereas the post-mortality saplings and juveniles displayed a weak clustering with mortality caused by density dependence. With increasing distance to adult trees, post-mortality saplings and juveniles showed a gradually increasing random distribution. Our findings indicate that habitat heterogeneity contributes to the spatial distribution of Q. aliena var. acuteserrata with an aggregation effect. After the effect of habitat heterogeneity was removed, spatial distribution of Q. aliena var. acuteserrata trees with different pre-mortality and post-mortality status were all affected by density dependence effect in the Baotianman National Nature Reserve. These conclusions provide support for the Janzen-Connell hypotheses.

Key words: deciduous broad-leaf forest, Quercus aliena var. acuteserrata, density dependence, distribution pattern, Janzen-Connell hypotheses, Baotianman National Nature Reserve

Fig. 1

Spatial patterns of Quercus aliena var. acuteserrata deadwoods in the 1-ha plot in the Baotianman National Nature Reserve. The solid black line represents the point pattern of the dead trees, the confidence interval is showed by the region between the two dashed gray lines."

Fig. 2

Spatial patterns of living Q. aliena var. acuteserrata trees in the 1-ha plot in Baotianman Nature Reserve. It presents the double correlation functions g(r) and L(r) functions pattern analysis with complete spatial randomness model. The solid black line represents the point pattern of the living trees, the confidence interval is shown by the gray part and the region between the two dashed lines."

Fig. 3

Point pattern analysis of Q. aliena var. acuteserrata deadwoods at different growth stages in the 1-ha plot in the Baotianman National Nature Reserve. The solid black line represents the point pattern of the dead trees, the confidence interval is shown by the region between the dotted lines. A, Saplings (1 cm ≤ DBH < 10 cm); B, Juveniles (10 cm ≤ DBH <20 cm); C, Adult trees (DBH ≥20 cm)."

Fig. 4

Examples for density dependent effect within a case-control design in the 1-ha plot in the Baotianman National Nature Reserve. The pattern of adult trees serves as “control”, which corrects for possible heterogeneity in habitat quality, the pattern of smaller size classes serves as “cases”. A, Saplings (1 cm ≤ DBH <10 cm); B, Juveniles (10 cm ≤ DBH < 20 cm); C, Adult trees (DBH ≥ 20 cm). A1 and B1 represent the negative density dependence analysis of pre-mortality saplings and juveniles; A2 and B2 show the negative density dependence analysis of post-mortality saplings and juveniles, respectively."

Fig. 5

Comparative analysis of the correlation of pre-mortality and post-mortality of Quercus aliena var. acuteserrata trees at different growth stages by using double correlation functions g12 (r) and random labeling null model. A1to F1 for pre-mortality trees, A2 to F2 for post-mortality trees. a, Saplings (1 cm ≤ DBH <10 cm); b, Juveniles (10 cm ≤ DBH <20 cm); c, Adult trees (DBH ≥20 cm). It shows the 99% confidence interval (grey section) after 999 times circles with Monte Carlo simulation."

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