Spatial pattern, regeneration and growth rates of Brachystegia spiciformis and Julbernardia globiflora
Grundy, I.M.; Campbell, B.M.; Frost, P.G.H.
Vegetatio 115(2): 101-107
ISSN/ISBN: 0042-3106 DOI: 10.1007/bf00044864
Past work on tree-to-tree interactions in semi-arid savannas, through the use of nearest neighbor analysis, has shown both a regular dispersion pattern and a positive correlation between the size of a tree and the distance to its nearest neighbor. From these results, the importance of competition has been inferred. In the present study, tree-to-tree interactions in a mesic savanna woodland at Marondera, Zimbabwe, dominated by relatively small-sized individuals of Brachystegia spiciformis and Julbernardia globiflora, were examined. Results show that the regular dispersion pattern is uncommon; that there are few significant positive correlations between size of individual and distance to nearest neighbor; and that growth rate is not consistently correlated with size and distance of nearest neighbor. Results of a study of regeneration relative to canopy cover suggest a possible mechanism for these findings: unlike semi-arid savannas, young plants often grow in under-canopy environments so that early spacing of young trees does not occur. Significant positive correlations between the size of a tree and the distance to its nearest neighbor were found in a stand of larger, presumably older, trees, suggesting that such a relationship only develops in mesic miombo woodland through a thinning process as the trees mature. Familial clumping, which is common in the study area, may mask spatial patterns.