Stand dynamics and tree coexistence in an analytical structured model: The role of recruitment

TitleStand dynamics and tree coexistence in an analytical structured model: The role of recruitment
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsAngulo O., R. de la Parra B, López-Marcos J.C., Zavala M.A.
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Volume333
Pagination91 - 101
Date Published2013///
KeywordsCoexistence, Numerical methods, Size-structured population, Tradeoffs
TagsCoexistence, Numerical methods, Size-structured population, Tradeoffs
Abstract

Understanding the mechanisms of coexistence and niche partitioning in plant communities is a central question in ecology. Current theories of forest dynamics range between the so-called neutral theories which assume functional equivalence among coexisting species to forest simulators that explain species assemblages as the result of tradeoffs in species individual strategies at several ontogenetic stages. Progress in these questions has been hindered by the inherent difficulties of developing analytical size-structured models of stand dynamics. This precludes examination of the relative importance of each mechanism on tree coexistence. In previous simulation and analytical studies emphasis has been given to interspecific differences at the sapling stage, and less so to interspecific variation in seedling recruitment. In this study we develop a partial differential equation model of stand dynamics in which competition takes place at the recruitment stage. Species differ in their size-dependent growth rates and constant mortality rates. Recruitment is described as proportional to the basal area of conspecifics, to account for fecundity and seed supply per unit of basal area, and is corrected with a decreasing function of species specific basal area to account for competition. We first analyze conditions for population persistence in monospecific stands and second we investigate conditions of coexistence for two species. In the monospecific case we found a stationary stand structure based on an inequality between mortality rate and seed supply. In turn, intra-specific competition does not play any role on the asymptotic extinction or population persistence. In the two-species case we found that coexistence can be attained when the reciprocal negative effect on recruitment follows a given relation with respect to intraspecific competition. Specifically a tradeoff between recruitment potential (i.e. shade tolerance or predation avoidance) and fecundity or growth rate. This is to our knowledge the first study that describes coexistence mechanisms in an analytical size-structured model in terms of competitive differences at the regeneration state. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

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