Artículos de revistas
Rapid structural and compositional change in an old-growth subtropical forest: using plant traits to identify probable drivers
Malizia, A.; Easdale, T.a.; Grau, H.r.; Rapid structural and compositional change in an old-growth subtropical forest: using plant traits to identify probable drivers; Public Library Science; Plos One; 8; 2013-8; 1-13; http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0073546;
Grau, Hector Ricardo
Recent studies have shown directional changes in old-growth tropical forests, but changes are complex and diverse, and their drivers unclear. Here, we report rapid net structural and compositional changes in an old-growth subtropical forest and we assess the functional nature of these changes to test hypothetical drivers including recovery from past disturbances, reduction in ungulate browsing, CO2 fertilization, and increases in rainfall and temperature. The study relies on 15 years of demographic monitoring within 8 ha of subtropical montane forest in Argentina. Between 1992 and 2007, stem density markedly increased by 50% (12 stems ha21 y21) and basal area by 6% (0.13 m2 ha21 y21). Increased stem density resulted from enhanced recruitment of understory treelets (Piper tucumanum, Eugenia uniflora, Allophylus edulis) into small size classes. Among 27 common tree species, net population growth was negatively correlated with maximum tree size and longevity, and positively correlated with leaf size and leaf nutrient content, especially so when initial population size was controlled for. Changes were inconsistent with predictions derived from past disturbances (no increase in shade-tolerant or long-lived late-succesional species), rainfall or temperature increase (no increase in evergreen or deciduous species, respectively). However, the increase in nutrient-rich soft-leaved species was consistent with exclusion of large herbivores two decades before monitoring started; and CO2 fertilization could help explain the disproportionate increase in small stems. Reductions in populations of large vertebrates have been obse rved in many otherwise undisturbed tropical forests, and our results suggest they can have important structural and functional repercussions in these forests.