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Forests 2018, 9(5), 230; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9050230

Seed Dispersal, Microsites or Competition—What Drives Gap Regeneration in an Old-Growth Forest? An Application of Spatial Point Process Modelling

1
Institute of Forest Ecology, Department of Forest- and Soil Sciences, BOKU—University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, 1190 Vienna, Austria
2
Department of Mathematical Sciences, Aalborg University, 9100 Aalborg, Denmark
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 February 2018 / Revised: 29 March 2018 / Accepted: 23 April 2018 / Published: 27 April 2018
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Abstract

The spatial structure of trees is a template for forest dynamics and the outcome of a variety of processes in ecosystems. Identifying the contribution and magnitude of the different drivers is an age-old task in plant ecology. Recently, the modelling of a spatial point process was used to identify factors driving the spatial distribution of trees at stand scales. Processes driving the coexistence of trees, however, frequently unfold within gaps and questions on the role of resource heterogeneity within-gaps have become central issues in community ecology. We tested the applicability of a spatial point process modelling approach for quantifying the effects of seed dispersal, within gap light environment, microsite heterogeneity, and competition on the generation of within gap spatial structure of small tree seedlings in a temperate, old growth, mixed-species forest. By fitting a non-homogeneous Neyman–Scott point process model, we could disentangle the role of seed dispersal from niche partitioning for within gap tree establishment and did not detect seed densities as a factor explaining the clustering of small trees. We found only a very weak indication for partitioning of within gap light among the three species and detected a clear niche segregation of Picea abies (L.) Karst. on nurse logs. The other two dominating species, Abies alba Mill. and Fagus sylvatica L., did not show signs of within gap segregation. View Full-Text
Keywords: forest dynamics; forest gap; tree regeneration; niche partitioning; spatial point process; old growth forest; Neyman–Scott point process model forest dynamics; forest gap; tree regeneration; niche partitioning; spatial point process; old growth forest; Neyman–Scott point process model
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Gratzer, G.; Waagepetersen, R.P. Seed Dispersal, Microsites or Competition—What Drives Gap Regeneration in an Old-Growth Forest? An Application of Spatial Point Process Modelling. Forests 2018, 9, 230.

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