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 526183
Title Soil-mediated filtering organizes tree assemblages in regenerating tropical forests
Author(s) Pinho, Bruno Ximenes; Melo, Felipe Pimentel Lopes de; Arroyo-Rodríguez, Víctor; Pierce, Simon; Lohbeck, Madelon; Tabarelli, Marcelo
Source Journal of Ecology 106 (2018)1. - ISSN 0022-0477 - p. 137 - 147.
Department(s) Forest Ecology and Forest Management
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2018
Keyword(s) Atlantic forest - Brazil - Community assembly - Determinants of plant community diversity and structure - Environmental filtering - Forest regeneration - Functional traits - Secondary succession - Soil fertility - Soil nutrients

Secondary forests are increasingly dominant in human-modified tropical landscapes, but the drivers of forest recovery remain poorly understood. Soil conditions influence plant community composition, and are expected to change over a gradient of succession. However, the role of soil conditions as an environmental filter driving community assembly during forest succession has rarely been explicitly assessed. We evaluated the role of stand basal area and soil conditions on community assembly and its consequences for community functional properties along a chronosequence of Atlantic forest regeneration following sugar cane cultivation. Specifically, we tested whether community functional properties are related to stand basal area, soil fertility and soil moisture. Our expectations were that edaphic environmental filters play an increasingly important role along secondary succession by increasing functional trait convergence towards more conservative attributes. We sampled soil and woody vegetation features across 15 second-growth (3-30 years) and 11 old-growth forest plots (300 m2 each). We recorded tree functional traits related to resource-use strategies (specific leaf area, SLA; leaf dry matter content, LDMC; leaf area, LA; leaf thickness, LT; and leaf succulence, LS) and calculated community functional properties using the community-weighted mean (CWM) of each trait and the functional dispersion (FDis) of each trait separately and all traits together. With exception of LA, all leaf traits were strongly associated with stand basal area; LDMC and SLA increased, while LT and LS decreased with forest development. Such changes in LDMC, LT and LS were also related to the decrease in soil nutrient availability and pH along succession, while soil moisture was weakly related to community functional properties. Considering all traits, as well as leaf thickness and succulence separately, FDis strongly decreased with increasing basal area and decreasing soil fertility along forest succession, presenting the lowest values in old-growth forests. Synthesis. Our findings suggest that tropical forest regeneration may be a deterministic process shaped by soil conditions. Soil fertility operates as a key filter causing functional convergence towards more conservative resource-use strategies, such as leaves with higher leaf dry matter content.

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