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Forests 2016, 7(8), 163; doi:10.3390/f7080163

Functional Diversity of Small and Large Trees along Secondary Succession in a Tropical Dry Forest

1
Unidad de Recursos Naturales, Centro de Investigación Científica de Yucatán (CICY), Mérida C.P. 97205, Yucatán, Mexico
2
Instituto de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas y Sustentabilidad, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Morelia C.P. 58190, Michoacán, Mexico
3
Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA 30144, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Fei-Hai Yu and Timothy A. Martin
Received: 7 May 2016 / Revised: 1 July 2016 / Accepted: 16 July 2016 / Published: 30 July 2016
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Abstract

Functional Diversity is considered an important driver of community assembly in environmental and successional gradients. To understand tree assembly processes in a semideciduous tropical forest, we analyzed the variation of Functional Richness (FRic), Functional Divergence (FDiv), and Functional Evenness (FEve) of small vs. large trees in relation to fallow age after slash-and-burn agriculture and topographical position (flat sites vs. hills). FRic of small trees was lower than null model predicted values across the successional gradient, and decreased unexpectedly in older successional ages. FRic of large trees was higher than null model predictions early in succession and lower in late-successional stands on hills. Dominant species were more similar (low FDiv) in early and intermediate successional stands for small trees, and on hills for large trees, suggesting that species that are best adapted to harsh conditions share similar traits. We also found evidence of competitive exclusion among similar species (high FEve) for small trees in early successional stands. Overall, our results indicate that community assembly of small trees is strongly affected by the changing biotic and abiotic conditions along the successional and topographical gradient. For large trees, hills may represent the most stressful conditions in this landscape. View Full-Text
Keywords: competitive exclusion; environmental filtering; null models; plant functional traits; topographic position; Yucatan competitive exclusion; environmental filtering; null models; plant functional traits; topographic position; Yucatan
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Sanaphre-Villanueva, L.; Dupuy, J.M.; Andrade, J.L.; Reyes-García, C.; Paz, H.; Jackson, P.C. Functional Diversity of Small and Large Trees along Secondary Succession in a Tropical Dry Forest. Forests 2016, 7, 163.

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