Neighborhood effects and Size-asymmetric competition in a tree plantation varying in diversity

TitleNeighborhood effects and Size-asymmetric competition in a tree plantation varying in diversity
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsPotvin C., Dutilleul P.
Pagination321 - 327
Date Published2009///
KeywordsBiodiversity and ecosystem functioning, Neighborhood, Panama, Sardinilla, Size-asymmetric competition, Tropical-tree plantations
TagsBiodiversity and ecosystem functioning, Size-asymmetric competition, Panama, Sardinilla, Neighborhood, Tropical-tree plantations

A plantation of native trees was established in Panama in 2001 to study the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Five years later, mixed-species plots had experienced enhanced tree growth compared with monocultures. Searching for underlying mechanisms, we developed a neighborhood model isolating size and identity effects. We found that the size of neighbors is, by far, the largest source of variation in individual-tree diameter and height. Size-asymmetric competition appears as a structuring factor in the plantation. The relative growth rate of small trees was significantly lower than that of large trees, and their height and basal diameter were most variable. The 50 smallest trees of the plantation suffered a disproportionate amount of death, and the proportion of small trees was highest in monoculture. Increased biomass allocation to branches for trees growing in three-species plots suggests that competition for light might be taking place. Clearly, local neighborhood plays a central role in determining productivity, suggesting that scale needs to be incorporated in the theoretical development and analysis of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. © 2009 by the Ecological Society of America.


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