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Forests 2018, 9(1), 33; doi:10.3390/f9010033

Nearest Neighborhood Characteristics of a Tropical Mixed Broadleaved Forest Stand

1
Department of Forest Inventory and Planning, Faculty of Silviculture, Vietnam National University of Forestry, Xuanmai, Chuongmy, Hanoi 024840, Vietnam
2
Department of Natural Resources and Environment, College of Agriculture, Shiraz University, 7144165186 Shiraz, Iran
3
Department of Forest Management, Faculty of Silviculture and Forest Engineering, Transilvania University, Sirul Beethoven 1, ROU-500123 Brasov, Romania
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 24 October 2017 / Revised: 4 January 2018 / Accepted: 10 January 2018 / Published: 14 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competition and Facilitation in Mixed Species Forests)
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Abstract

Structural complexity and local biodiversity of species-rich tropical forests can be characterized by their spatial patterns, which contribute to species intra- and interspecific interactions. Aiming to describe spatial patterns of species at fine spatial scales, we applied the quantitative analyses based on the relationships of nearest neighbors of conspecific and heterospecific trees. In a two-hectare plot of a tropical broadleaved forest stand in central Vietnam with minimal human influence, all tree individuals with diameter at breast height ≥ 2.5 cm were mapped and their characteristics were recorded. We applied two different types of analyses: (1) Intraspecific structural characteristics using nearest neighbor statistics; (2) overall interspecific associations through a classification scheme based on bivariate nearest neighbor distribution function D12(r) and Ripley’s K function K12(r). The findings showed that: (1) Most of studied species in the forest were highly mixed with other species, while conspecifics were regular to aggregated distribution at small spatial scales. Tree individuals with different diameter values were surrounded by heterospecific trees; (2) The majority of 306 species-species pairs showed spatial independence (66.7%), whereas 29.8% of all species showed an overall positive association and negative association consisted only a small percentage (3.5%) up to spatial scales of 50 m. We found significant evidences of the main ecological theories such as dispersal limitation, Neutral theory, Janzen-Connell hypothesis, and other effects like the stochastic dilution. We suggest using both the bivariate distribution of the structural parameters and the spatial point pattern analysis based on nearest neighbor distance as advantageous approaches for further understanding of population structure, as well as discovering and protecting biodiversity in the future. View Full-Text
Keywords: mingling; dominance; uniform angle index; overall species associations; nearest neighborhood; broadleaved forest mingling; dominance; uniform angle index; overall species associations; nearest neighborhood; broadleaved forest
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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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Nguyen, H.H.; Erfanifard, Y.; Petritan, I.C. Nearest Neighborhood Characteristics of a Tropical Mixed Broadleaved Forest Stand. Forests 2018, 9, 33.

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