Key processes for tree species diversity in tropical rain forests.
Huth, Andreas*,1, Koehler, Peter2, 1 UFZ Centre for Environmental Research, Leipzig, Germany2 Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany
ABSTRACT- Tropical rain forests are well known for their richness of tree species. In this study we investigated how recruitment limitation and gap building influence tree species richness and species dynamics in a tropical rain forest. Most investigations on species richness were so far performed with simple conceptual models in which main competing processes were not represented adequately. Therefore, we analysed this question with the process-based forest model FORMIND2.0. The model simulates the spatio-temporal dynamics of an uneven-aged mixed forest stand in Sabah, Malaysia. It calculates the carbon balance of individual trees, competition for light and space, and covers recruitment processes by explicit seed dispersal. The impact of recruitment limitation and gap disturbances on the richness of the 468 tree species of the forest site were assessed. In cases without recruitment limitation cumulative species numbers per cumulative stem numbers did not vary with disturbance, while in recruitment limited scenarios species numbers were higher in forest sites with less disturbances. These results shows that both processes influence tree species richness and both processes are linked. Understanding the role of the processes is important for protecting these forest in the future.
Key words: tropical forest, biodiversity, modeling, disturbance
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