Journal Article

Development of a Local Size Hierarchy Causes Regular Spacing of Trees in an Even-aged <i>Abies</i> Forest: Analyses Using Spatial Autocorrelation and the Mark Correlation Function

Satoshi N. Suzuki, Naoki Kachi and Jun-Ichirou Suzuki

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 102, issue 3, pages 435-441
Published in print September 2008 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online July 2008 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcn113
Development of a Local Size Hierarchy Causes Regular Spacing of Trees in an Even-aged Abies Forest: Analyses Using Spatial Autocorrelation and the Mark Correlation Function

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry

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Background and Aims

During the development of an even-aged plant population, the spatial distribution of individuals often changes from a clumped pattern to a random or regular one. The development of local size hierarchies in an Abies forest was analysed for a period of 47 years following a large disturbance in 1959.

Methods

In 1980 all trees in an 8 × 8 m plot were mapped and their height growth after the disturbance was estimated. Their mortality and growth were then recorded at 1- to 4-year intervals between 1980 and 2006. Spatial distribution patterns of trees were analysed by the pair correlation function. Spatial correlations between tree heights were analysed with a spatial autocorrelation function and the mark correlation function. The mark correlation function was able to detect a local size hierarchy that could not be detected by the spatial autocorrelation function alone.

Key Results

The small-scale spatial distribution pattern of trees changed from clumped to slightly regular during the 47 years. Mortality occurred in a density-dependent manner, which resulted in regular spacing between trees after 1980. The spatial autocorrelation and mark correlation functions revealed the existence of tree patches consisting of large trees at the initial stage. Development of a local size hierarchy was detected within the first decade after the disturbance, although the spatial autocorrelation was not negative. Local size hierarchies that developed persisted until 2006, and the spatial autocorrelation became negative at later stages (after about 40 years).

Conclusions

This is the first study to detect local size hierarchies as a prelude to regular spacing using the mark correlation function. The results confirm that use of the mark correlation function together with the spatial autocorrelation function is an effective tool to analyse the development of a local size hierarchy of trees in a forest.

Keywords: Abies; local size hierarchy; mark correlation function; pair correlation function; regenerating forest; regular spacing; spatial autocorrelation

Journal Article.  4269 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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