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Keywords:

  • anemochory;
  • inverse modelling;
  • recruitment;
  • seed dispersal;
  • tree regeneration

Summary

  • 1
    We compared three commonly used empirical seed/seedling dispersal functions for trees (lognormal, 2Dt, and two-parameter Weibull) by analysis of published studies where the location of the source is known, as well as by inverse modelling within an old growth hardwood forest in southern Quebec. Almost all the species were wind-dispersed.
  • 2
    For the discrete source studies, the lognormal was clearly superior, while for the inverse modelling the performance of the three dispersal functions was somewhat more even. We speculate that collisions with boles spuriously enhanced the likelihood of the 2Dt and the Weibull with inverse modelling, as both these functions assume that the greatest seed/seedling density will occur at the base of the maternal parent bole.
  • 3
    We conclude that the lognormal function is to be preferred because, as well as providing a framework for mechanistic interpretation, it tends to provide a closer approximation to observed dispersal curves.
  • 4
    We also argue that mean distances travelled by seed crops are far more extensive than indicated by previous studies that used the Weibull function.