Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tropical Tree Distribution Could Have Implications For Forest Management, Conservation

Date:
May 26, 2000
Source:
University Of Washington
Summary:
The sheer diversity of tropical forests -- where 130 acres can contain as many as 1,100 tree species and 366,000 individual trees -- has long clouded the basic ecological question of whether tropical trees of the same species are "aggregated" or dispersed randomly across the landscape.

The sheer diversity of tropical forests -- where 130 acres can contain as many as 1,100 tree species and 366,000 individual trees -- has long clouded the basic ecological question of whether tropical trees of the same species are "aggregated" or dispersed randomly across the landscape. A census of six large plots of 25 to 52 hectares (60 to 130 acres) in five South American and Asian countries is described in this week's Science and shows most tropical trees are aggregated, or clumped. The size of the data set should help end decades of debate on this subject, according to Patrick Baker, co-author and doctoral student at the University of Washington's College of Forest Resources.

Related Articles


The findings have implications for environmental decision-makers interested in such things as designing nature reserves, selecting native trees to reforest degraded areas and determining biologically sustainable harvest rates for timber, Baker says, "provided researchers can next determine if there are key mechanisms that drive these patterns."

The notion that species were widely dispersed dominated theoretical tropical ecology from 1853 until 1979 when Stephen Hubbell, another co-author on this week's Science paper, published results contrary to popular wisdom based on work at a 13-hectare plot in Costa Rica. Hubbell's results have been the subject of debate since then.

Much larger plots from Panama, Malaysia, Thailand, India and Sri Lanka have now been surveyed in work funded mainly by the National Science Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation, and coordinated through the Center for Tropical Forest Science, a part of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

Nearly every species was aggregated when scientists considered trees of 1 cm or more in diameter, according to calculations by the paper's lead author Richard Condit of the Center for Tropical Forest Science. Rare species were substantially more aggregated than common species at all but one site. Clumping was discerned even for species so rare that researchers could find only 10 individuals across 50-hectare plots.

The mechanisms responsible for like trees to be in the same vicinity could include the ways seeds are dispersed or factors in the habitat that favor certain species.

Baker worked at the Huai Khae Khaeng plot in Thailand, the site with the most tightly aggregated species the scientists found: 51 of 59 individuals of Lagerstroemia sp. (Lythraceae) were within 20 meters of each other. Baker said the mechanism for clumping for that species appeared to be the strong sucker growth. He recalled standing at a dead tree and being able to discern its root pattern 10 meters in various directions because of the lines of two- to three-meter-tall juveniles radiating away from the stump.

Other co-authors on the paper include researchers from Harvard University, University of Georgia, the Field Museum of Natural History, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and India.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Washington. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Washington. "Tropical Tree Distribution Could Have Implications For Forest Management, Conservation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 May 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/05/000526071305.htm>.
University Of Washington. (2000, May 26). Tropical Tree Distribution Could Have Implications For Forest Management, Conservation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/05/000526071305.htm
University Of Washington. "Tropical Tree Distribution Could Have Implications For Forest Management, Conservation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/05/000526071305.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) Take a stab at this -- stunt video shows a lamb chop's journey from an east London restaurant over 30 kilometers into space. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cambodian Capital's Only Working Elephant to Retire in Jungle

Cambodian Capital's Only Working Elephant to Retire in Jungle

AFP (Nov. 25, 2014) Phnom Penh's only working elephant was blessed by a crowd of chanting Buddhist monks Tuesday as she prepared for a life of comfortable jungle retirement after three decades of giving rides to tourists. Duration: 00:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stray Dog Follows Adventure Racing Team for 6-Day Endurance Race

Stray Dog Follows Adventure Racing Team for 6-Day Endurance Race

Buzz60 (Nov. 24, 2014) A Swedish Adventure racing team travels to try and win a world title, but comes home with something way better: a stray dog that joined the team for much of the grueling 430-mile race. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins