Edaphic factors and initial conditions influence successional trajectories of early regenerating tropical dry forests
Edaphic factors include soil characteristics and topography of a landscape. These factors are thought to have strong impacts on forest communities and can predict the trajectory of forest regeneration. Differing soil conditions and slopes result in varying species assemblages, growth rates, and overall tree cover.
Goals and Methods
The authors test whether edaphic factors are significant drivers of tropical dry forest succession in the Los Santos province of Panama. Landscapes of varying disturbance regimes (fire, logging, cattle ranching, etc.) and topographies are selected data collection over a period of 7 years. On each site trees are measured and identified and soil samples are taken. Using specific calculations the authors are able to determine values such as biomass, species distribution and dominance, and tree and liana densities.
Conclusions and Takeaways
The authors conclude that the successional pathways of trees are more predictable than those of lianas in tropical dry forests. Edaphic factors do explain some changes in early successional dry forest communities such as biomass and changes in species composition. These findings are valuable for prediction of forest succession rates and trajectories in human-altered landscapes.
Edaphic factors and initial conditions influence successional trajectories of early regenerating tropical dry forests. Journal of Ecology. 2020;108(1):160 - 174. doi:10.1111/jec.v108.110.1111/1365-2745.13263.