Factors Affecting Community Composition of Forest Regeneration in Deforested, Abandoned Land in Panama
This study tests how Saccharum spontaneum, an invasive grass, affects early forest succession and community composition in an area of previously abandoned pasture.
Research Goals & Methods
Five study sites, all dominated by Saccharum spontaneum, were selected. Each plot held three 12x12m subplots and recieved three treatments: mowing of Saccharum spontaneum once, three times, and no mowing. Shrub seedling and saplings encountered were identified, tagged adn mapped. An similar procedure was also follwed using fire instead of mowing.
Conclusions & Takeaways
The composition of regeneration greatly differed by distance from the forest. The authors found that fire decreased species richness; most species had reduced resprouting ability and seed germination after the fire. Only one species (Thevetia ahouai) had increased resprouts and recruits after fire while 14 species demonstrated decreased recruits and resprouts after fire. Near the forest, increasing age since the fire resulted in more large-animal-dispersed seeds. The authors assert that proximity to and the species identity of remnant vegetation can significantly increase the regeneration of species over time.
FACTORS AFFECTING COMMUNITY COMPOSITION OF FOREST REGENERATION IN DEFORESTED, ABANDONED LAND IN PANAMA. Ecology. 2004;85:3313–3326. doi:10.1890/03-0655..
- Department of Biology, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada
- Départment de sciences biologiques, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada
- Center for Tropical Forest Science, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, USA