Co-ordinating Editor: Dr. Christoph Leuschner.
Beyond the tropics: forest structure in a temperate forest mapped plot
Article first published online: 7 JAN 2010
© 2010 International Association for Vegetation Science
Journal of Vegetation Science
Volume 21, Issue 2, pages 388–405, April 2010
How to Cite
Gilbert, G. S., Howard, E., Ayala-Orozco, B., Bonilla-Moheno, M., Cummings, J., Langridge, S., Parker, I. M., Pasari, J., Schweizer, D. and Swope, S. (2010), Beyond the tropics: forest structure in a temperate forest mapped plot. Journal of Vegetation Science, 21: 388–405. doi: 10.1111/j.1654-1103.2009.01151.x
- Issue published online: 22 FEB 2010
- Article first published online: 7 JAN 2010
- Received 19 February 2009; Accepted 11 November 2009.
- Coast live oak;
- Mediterranean climate forest;
- Shreve's Oak;
- Tree diversity;
- University of California Santa Cruz - Forest Ecology Research Plot;
- Vegetation analysis
Question: How do the diversity, size structure, and spatial pattern of woody species in a temperate (Mediterranean climate) forest compare to temperate and tropical forests?
Location: Mixed evergreen coastal forest in the Santa Cruz Mountains, California, USA.
Methods: We mapped, tagged, identified, and measured all woody stems (≥1 cm diameter) in a 6-ha forest plot, following Center for Tropical Forest Science protocols. We compared patterns to those found in 14 tropical and 12 temperate forest plots.
Results: The forest is dominated by Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and three species of Fagaceae (Quercus agrifolia, Q. parvula var. shrevei, and Lithocarpus densiflorus), and includes 31 woody species and 8180 individuals. Much of the diversity was in small-diameter shrubs, treelets, and vines that have not been included in most other temperate forest plots because stems <5-cm diameter had been excluded from study. The density of woody stems (1363 stems ha−1) was lower than that in all but one tropical plot. The density of large trees (diameter ≥30 cm) and basal area were higher than in any tropical plot. Stem density and basal area were similar to most other temperate plots, but were less than in low-diversity conifer forests. Rare species were strongly aggregated, with the degree of aggregation decreasing with abundance so that the most common species were significantly more regular than random.
Conclusions: The patterns raise questions about differences in structure and dynamics between tropical and temperate forests; these need to be confirmed with additional temperate zone mapped plots that include small-diameter individuals.