A test of the hypothesis of ecological equivalence in an Australian subtropical rain forest

Penfold, GC and Lamb, D (2002) A test of the hypothesis of ecological equivalence in an Australian subtropical rain forest. Journal of Tropical Ecology, 18 327-352. doi:10.1017/S0266467402002249

Author Penfold, GC
Lamb, D
Title A test of the hypothesis of ecological equivalence in an Australian subtropical rain forest
Journal name Journal of Tropical Ecology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0266-4674
Publication date 2002-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1017/S0266467402002249
Volume 18
Start page 327
End page 352
Total pages 26
Place of publication United Kingdom
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Language eng
Subject C1
270703 Terrestrial Ecology
770703 Living resources (flora and fauna)
Abstract We tested the hypothesis that tree species in a subtropical rain forest in south-east Queensland are ecologically equivalent and therefore have identical environmental requirements for their regeneration. We assessed the evidence that juveniles of species differed in their distributions in treefall gap microsites and along gradients of light availability, soil pH, soil PO4-P availability and soil NO3-N availability. Pairwise comparisons were made on a subset of the common species selected on the basis that they showed a relatively high level of positive association, and would therefore, a priori, be expected to have similar regeneration requirements. Detailed comparisons between the species failed to demonstrate evidence for species differentiation with respect to their tolerance of the disturbance associated with gap microsites or to the gradient of NO3-N availability. However, species differed markedly in their distributions along the soil pH gradient and along the gradients of light availability and soil PO4-P availability. The overall level of ecological differentiation between the species is high: seven out of the 10 possible species pairings showed evidence for ecological differentiation. Such niche differentiation amongst the juveniles of tree species may play an important role in maintaining the species richness of rain-forest communities.
Keyword Ecology
Doryphora Sassafras
Gap Microsites
Light Environment
Niche Differentiation
Orites Excelsa
Polyosma Cunninghamii
Sarcopteryx Stipata
Sloanea Woollsii
Species Co-existence
Treefall Gaps
Neotropical Forest
Tropical Forest
Recruitment Limitation
Seedling Establishment
Species Coexistence
Tree Diversity
Palm Community
Leaf Litter
Q-Index Code C1

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: Centre for Mined Land Rehabilitation Publications
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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 03:26:12 EST