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Complex Spatial Structure in a Population of Didymopanax pittieri, A Tree of Wind-Exposed Lower Montane Rain ForestDidymopanax pittieri is a common shade-intolerant tree colonizing treefall gaps in the elfin forests on windswept ridgecrests in the lower montane rain forests of the Cordillera de Tilarain, Costa Rica. All D. pittieri taller than > 0.5 m in a 5.2-ha elfin forested portion of a gridded study watershed in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve were located, mapped, and measured. This local population of D. pittieri is spatially inhomogeneous, in that density increases with increasing wind exposure; D. pittieri are more abundant near ridge crests than lower on windward slopes. The important and ubiquitous phenomenon of spatial inhomogeneity in population density is addressed and corrected for in spatial analyses by the application of the inhomogeneous version of Ripley's K. The spatial patterns of four size classes of D. pittieri (<5 cm dbh, 5-10 cm dbh, 10-20 cm dbh, and> 20 cm dbh) were investigated. Within the large-scale trend in density driven by wind exposure, D. pittieri saplings are clumped at the scale of treefall gaps and at the scale of patches of aggregated gaps. D. pittieri 5-10 cm dbh are randomly distributed, apparently due to competitive thinning of sapling clumps during the early stages of gap-phase regeneration. D. pittieri larger than 10 cm dbh are overdispersed at a scale larger than that of patches of gaps. Natural disturbance can influence the distribution of shade intolerant tree populations at several different spatial scales, and can have discordant effects at different life history stages.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Lawton, Robert M. (Tennessee Univ. Knoxville, TN, United States)
Lawton, Robert O. (Alabama Univ. Huntsville, AL, United States)
Date Acquired
August 25, 2013
Publication Date
March 25, 2010
Publication Information
Publication: Plant Ecology (an Internaitonal Journal)
Volume: 210
Issue: 1
ISSN: 1385-0237
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits