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Community dynamics of seed rain in mixed evergreen broad-leaved and deciduous forests in a subtropical mountain of central China

Shen, Z.-Hao; Tang, Y.-Yuan; Lue, N.; Zhaol, J.; Li, D.-Xing; Wang, G.-Fang

Journal of Integrative Plant Biology 49(9): 1294-1303

2007


ISSN/ISBN: 1672-9072
DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2007.00530.x
Accession: 015313300

Seed dispersal is a key process within community dynamics. The spatial and temporal variations of seed dispersal and the interspecific differences are crucial for understanding species coexistence and community dynamics. This might also hold for the mixed evergreen broadleaved and deciduous forests in the mountains of subtropical China, but until now little existing knowledge is available for this question. In 2001, we chose to monitor the seed rain process of our mixed evergreen broad-leaved and deciduous forest communities in Mount Dalaoling National Forest Park, Yichang, Hubei Province, China. The preliminary analyses show obvious variations in seed rain density, species compositions and timing of seed rain among four communities. The average seed rain densities of the four communities are 2.43 +/- 5.15, 54.13 +/- 182.75, 10.05 +/- 19.30 and 24.91 +/- 58.86 indS./m(2), respectively; about one tenth the values in other studies in subtropical forests of China. In each community, the seed production is dominated by a limited number of species, and the contributions from the others are generally minor. Fecundity of evergreen broadleaved tree species is weaker than deciduous species. The seed rain of four communities begins earlier than September, and stops before December, peaking from early September to late October. The beginning date, ending date and peak times of seed rain are extensively varied among the species, indicating different types of dispersal strategies. According to the existing data, the timing of seed rain is not determined by the climate conditions in the same period, while the density of seed rain may be affected by the disturbances of weather variations at a finer temporal resolution.

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