Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 408742
Title Environmental changes during secondary succession in a tropical dry forest in Mexico
Author(s) Lebrija Trejos, E.E.; Pérez-Garcia, E.A.; Meave, J.; Poorter, L.; Bongers, F.
Source Journal of Tropical Ecology 27 (2011)05. - ISSN 0266-4674 - p. 477 - 489.
Department(s) Forest Ecology and Forest Management
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2011
Keyword(s) vapor-pressure deficit - rain-forest - plant-communities - deciduous forest - tree seedlings - gas-exchange - costa-rica - microclimate - canopy - light
Abstract Vegetation and environment change mutually during secondary succession, yet the idiosyncrasies of the vegetation effect on the understorey environment are poorly understood. To test whether the successional understorey environment changes predictably and is shaped by the structure and seasonality of tropical dry forests, we estimated basal area and vegetation cover, and measured understorey temperature, light and moisture conditions, in 17 plots forming a 60-y chronosequence and a mature forest. Light and air and soil temperature decreased with time (75-15% of open-sky radiation, 31.7-29.3 °C, and +2.5 °C to -0.5 °C relative to ambient, respectively), whereas relative humidity increased (67-74%). Soil water availability increased with early-successional development (-45 to -1 kPa) but decreased afterwards (to -18 kPa). The first axis of a PCA of the rainy-season environment explained 60% of the variation and was strongly related to air temperature and relative humidity. During tropical dry-forest succession, such factors may be more important than light, the reduction in which is not extreme compared with taller and more vertically stratified wet forests. Seasonality significantly affected the successional environmental gradients, which were marked mainly during the wet season. Environmental heterogeneity was higher in the wet than in the dry season, and larger for resources (light and water) than for conditions (temperature and humidity). The wet-season increase in environmental heterogeneity potentially creates differential growing scenarios; the environmental harshness of the dry season would mostly challenge seedling survival.
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