Forest Succession and Distance from Forest Edge in an Afro‐Tropical Grassland1

Forest Succession and Distance from Forest Edge in an Afro‐Tropical Grassland1 Forest succession on degraded tropical lands often is slowed by impoverished seed banks and low rates of seed dispersal. Within degraded landscapes, remnant forests are potential seed sources that could enhance nearby forest succession. The spatial extent that forest can influence succession, however, remains largely unstudied. In abandoned agricultural lands in Kibale National Park, Uganda, recurrent fires have helped perpetuate the dominance of tall (2–3 m) grasses. We examined the effects of distance from forest and grassland vegetation structure on succession in a grassland having several years of fire exclusion. At 10 and 25 m from forest edge, we quantified vegetation patterns, seed predation, and survival of planted tree seedlings. Natural vegetation was similar at both distances, as was seed (eight species) and seedling (six species) survival; however, distance may be important at spatial or temporal scales not examined in this study. Our results offer insight into forest succession on degraded tropical grasslands following fire exclusion. Naturally recruited trees and tree seedlings were scarce, and seed survival was low (20% after 7 mo). While seedling survival was high (95% after 6 to 8 mo), seedling shoot growth was very slow (x̄= 0.5 cm/100 d), suggesting that survivorship eventually may decline. Recurrent fires often impede forest succession in degraded tropical grasslands; however, even with fire exclusion, our study suggests that forest succession can be very slow, even in close proximity to forest. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Biotropica Wiley

Forest Succession and Distance from Forest Edge in an Afro‐Tropical Grassland1

Biotropica, Volume 32 (1) – Mar 1, 2000

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 2000 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
0006-3606
eISSN
1744-7429
DOI
10.1111/j.1744-7429.2000.tb00445.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Forest succession on degraded tropical lands often is slowed by impoverished seed banks and low rates of seed dispersal. Within degraded landscapes, remnant forests are potential seed sources that could enhance nearby forest succession. The spatial extent that forest can influence succession, however, remains largely unstudied. In abandoned agricultural lands in Kibale National Park, Uganda, recurrent fires have helped perpetuate the dominance of tall (2–3 m) grasses. We examined the effects of distance from forest and grassland vegetation structure on succession in a grassland having several years of fire exclusion. At 10 and 25 m from forest edge, we quantified vegetation patterns, seed predation, and survival of planted tree seedlings. Natural vegetation was similar at both distances, as was seed (eight species) and seedling (six species) survival; however, distance may be important at spatial or temporal scales not examined in this study. Our results offer insight into forest succession on degraded tropical grasslands following fire exclusion. Naturally recruited trees and tree seedlings were scarce, and seed survival was low (20% after 7 mo). While seedling survival was high (95% after 6 to 8 mo), seedling shoot growth was very slow (x̄= 0.5 cm/100 d), suggesting that survivorship eventually may decline. Recurrent fires often impede forest succession in degraded tropical grasslands; however, even with fire exclusion, our study suggests that forest succession can be very slow, even in close proximity to forest.

Journal

BiotropicaWiley

Published: Mar 1, 2000

Keywords: ; ; ; ; ; ; ;

References

  • Rehabilitation of tropical lands: a key to sustaining development
    Brown, S.; Lugo, A. E.
  • Forest regeneration in logged and unlogged forests of Kibale National Park, Uganda
    Chapman, C. A.; Chapman, L. J.
  • Frugivores and seed dispersal
    Charles‐Dominique, P.
  • Frugivores and seed dispersal
    Dirzo, R.; Dominguez, C. A.
  • Seedling colonization of experimental gaps in two old–field communities
    Goldberg, D. E.

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