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The variation of tree beta diversity across a global network of forest plots

Authors

  • Miquel De Cáceres,

    Corresponding author
    1. Forest Science Center of Catalonia, Ctra. Antiga St Llorenç km 2, Solsona, 25280 Spain
    2. Département de Sciences Biologiques, Université de Montréal, CP 6128, Succursale Centre-ville, Montréal, Québec, H3C 3J7 Canada
      Miquel De Cáceres, Forest Science Center of Catalonia. Ctra. Antiga St Llorenç km 2, Solsona, 25280 Spain. Fangliang He, State Key Laboratory of Biocontrol, SYSU-Alberta Joint Lab for Biodiversity Conservation and School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275; Department of Renewable Resources, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2H1 Canada. E-mail: miquelcaceres@gmail.com or fhe@ualberta.ca
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  • Pierre Legendre,

    1. Département de Sciences Biologiques, Université de Montréal, CP 6128, Succursale Centre-ville, Montréal, Québec, H3C 3J7 Canada
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  • Renato Valencia,

    1. Laboratory of Plant Ecology, School of Biological Sciences, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, Apartado 17-01-2184, Quito, Ecuador
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  • Min Cao,

    1. Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650223
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  • Li-Wan Chang,

    1. Taiwan Forestry Research Institute, Taipei
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  • George Chuyong,

    1. Department of Life Sciences, University of Buea, PO Box 63, Buea, Republic of Cameroon
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  • Richard Condit,

    1. Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Box 0843-03092 Balboa, Ancon, Republic of Panama
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  • Zhanqing Hao,

    1. Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Science, Shenyang, 110016
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  • Chang-Fu Hsieh,

    1. Institute of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, National Taiwan University, Taipei
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  • Stephen Hubbell,

    1. Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Box 0843-03092 Balboa, Ancon, Republic of Panama
    2. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA
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  • David Kenfack,

    1. CTFS-Arnold Arboretum Office, Harvard University, 22 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
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  • Keping Ma,

    1. Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093
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  • Xiangcheng Mi,

    1. Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093
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  • Md. Nur Supardi Noor,

    1. Forest Environment Division, Forest Research Institute Malaysia, Kepong, Kuala Lumpur 52109, Malaysia
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  • Abdul Rahman Kassim,

    1. Forest Environment Division, Forest Research Institute Malaysia, Kepong, Kuala Lumpur 52109, Malaysia
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  • Haibao Ren,

    1. Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093
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  • Sheng-Hsin Su,

    1. Taiwan Forestry Research Institute, Taipei
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  • I-Fang Sun,

    1. Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Studies, National Dong Hwa University, Shou-Feng, Hualien, 97401
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  • Duncan Thomas,

    1. Department of Botany and Pathology, Oregon State University, Corvallis OR 97331-2902, USA
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  • Wanhui Ye,

    1. South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Science, Guangzhou
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  • Fangliang He

    Corresponding author
    1. State Key Laboratory of Biocontrol, SYSU-Alberta Joint Lab for Biodiversity Conservation and School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275
    2. Department of Renewable Resources, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2H1, Canada
      Miquel De Cáceres, Forest Science Center of Catalonia. Ctra. Antiga St Llorenç km 2, Solsona, 25280 Spain. Fangliang He, State Key Laboratory of Biocontrol, SYSU-Alberta Joint Lab for Biodiversity Conservation and School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275; Department of Renewable Resources, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2H1 Canada. E-mail: miquelcaceres@gmail.com or fhe@ualberta.ca
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Miquel De Cáceres, Forest Science Center of Catalonia. Ctra. Antiga St Llorenç km 2, Solsona, 25280 Spain. Fangliang He, State Key Laboratory of Biocontrol, SYSU-Alberta Joint Lab for Biodiversity Conservation and School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275; Department of Renewable Resources, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2H1 Canada. E-mail: miquelcaceres@gmail.com or fhe@ualberta.ca

ABSTRACT

Aims  With the aim of understanding why some of the world's forests exhibit higher tree beta diversity values than others, we asked: (1) what is the contribution of environmentally related variation versus pure spatial and local stochastic variation to tree beta diversity assessed at the forest plot scale; (2) at what resolution are these beta-diversity components more apparent; and (3) what determines the variation in tree beta diversity observed across regions/continents?

Location  World-wide.

Methods  We compiled an unprecedented data set of 10 large-scale stem-mapping forest plots differing in latitude, tree species richness and topographic variability. We assessed the tree beta diversity found within each forest plot separately. The non-directional variation in tree species composition among cells of the plot was our measure of beta diversity. We compared the beta diversity of each plot with the value expected under a null model. We also apportioned the beta diversity into four components: pure topographic, spatially structured topographic, pure spatial and unexplained. We used linear mixed models to interpret the variation of beta diversity values across the plots.

Results  Total tree beta diversity within a forest plot decreased with increasing cell size, and increased with tree species richness and the amount of topographic variability of the plot. The topography-related component of beta diversity was correlated with the amount of topographic variability but was unrelated to its species richness. The unexplained variation was correlated with the beta diversity expected under the null model and with species richness.

Main conclusions  Because different components of beta diversity have different determinants, comparisons of tree beta diversity across regions should quantify not only overall variation in species composition but also its components. Global-scale patterns in tree beta diversity are largely coupled with changes in gamma richness due to the relationship between the latter and the variation generated by local stochastic assembly processes.

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