Effects of density dependence in a temperate forest in northeastern China
CITATION: Yao, J., et al. 2016. Effects of density dependence in a temperate forest in northeastern China. Scientific Reports 6:32844, doi:10.1038/srep32844.
The original publication is available at http://www.nature.com/srep
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Negative density dependence may cause reduced clustering among individuals of the same species, and evidence is accumulating that conspecific density-dependent self-thinning is an important mechanism regulating the spatial structure of plant populations. This study evaluates that specific density dependence in three very large observational studies representing three successional stages in a temperate forest in northeastern China. The methods include standard spatial point pattern analysis and a heterogeneous Poisson process as the null model to eliminate the effects of habitat heterogeneity. The results show that most of the species exhibit conspecific density-dependent self-thinning. In the early successional stage 11 of the 16 species, in the intermediate successional stage 18 of the 21 species and in the old growth stage all 21 species exhibited density dependence after removing the effects of habitat heterogeneity. The prevalence of density dependence thus varies among the three successional stages and exhibits an increase with increasing successional stage. The proportion of species showing density dependence varied depending on whether habitat heterogeneity was removed or not. Furthermore, the strength of density dependence is closely related with species abundance. Abundant species with high conspecific aggregation tend to exhibit greater density dependence than rare species.