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Soil Effects on Forest Structure and Diversity in a Moist and a Dry Tropical Forest
Article first published online: 26 SEP 2011
© 2011 The Author(s). Journal compilation © 2011 by The Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation
Volume 44, Issue 3, pages 276–283, May 2012
How to Cite
Peña-Claros, M., Poorter, L., Alarcón, A., Blate, G., Choque, U., Fredericksen, T. S., Justiniano, M. J., Leaño, C., Licona, J. C., Pariona, W., Putz, F. E., Quevedo, L. and Toledo, M. (2012), Soil Effects on Forest Structure and Diversity in a Moist and a Dry Tropical Forest. Biotropica, 44: 276–283. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-7429.2011.00813.x
- Issue published online: 3 MAY 2012
- Article first published online: 26 SEP 2011
- Received 6 May 2009; revision accepted accepted 3 June 2011.
- forest structure;
- soil characteristics;
- tree species diversity
Soil characteristics are important drivers of variation in wet tropical forest structure and diversity, but few studies have evaluated these relationships in drier forest types. Using tree and soil data from 48 and 32 1 ha plots, respectively, in a Bolivian moist and dry forest, we asked how soil conditions affect forest structure and diversity within each of the two forest types. After correcting for spatial effects, soil-vegetation relationships differed between the dry and the moist forest, being strongest in the dry forest. Furthermore, we hypothesized that soil nutrients would play a more important role in the moist forest than in the dry forest because vegetation in the moist forest is less constrained by water availability and thus can show its full potential response to soil fertility. However, contrary to our expectations, we found that soil fertility explained a larger number of forest variables in the dry forest (50 percent) than in the moist forest (17 percent). Shannon diversity declined with soil fertility at both sites, probably because the most dominant, shade-tolerant species strongly increased in abundance as soil fertility increased.