Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access JSTOR through your library or other institution:

login

Log in through your institution.

If You Use a Screen Reader

This content is available through Read Online (Free) program, which relies on page scans. Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Journal Article

Geographical Variation in Fertility, Phenology, and Composition of the Understory of Neotropical Forests

A. H. Gentry and L. H. Emmons
Biotropica
Vol. 19, No. 3 (Sep., 1987), pp. 216-227
DOI: 10.2307/2388339
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2388339
Page Count: 12
Were these topics helpful?
See something inaccurate? Let us know!

Select the topics that are inaccurate.

  • Read Online (Free)
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Add to My Lists
  • Cite this Item
Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Geographical Variation in Fertility, Phenology, and Composition of the Understory of Neotropical Forests
Preview not available

Abstract

We compare levels of flowering and fruiting in 55 samples of Neotropical forest understory from 13 sites in 6 countries. Each sample consists of a census of fertile understory plants along a transect. Changes in species richness and density of fertile understory plants are correlated with rainfall and soil fertility. Areas with weak (or no) dry seasons and intermediate to rich soils average 64 fertile plant species and 174 individuals per sample, whereas areas with poor soil and a strong dry season average only 5 fertile species and 8 fertile individuals. Areas with either strong dry seasons and good soils or weak dry seasons and very poor soils have intermediate values. Taxonomic composition of the understory also changes predictably with rainfall and soil fertility. In increasingly stressed forests changes are found in understory structure, with sequential loss of terrestrial herbs, epiphytes, understory shrubs, and lianas. The understory of the poorest soil site consists almost entirely of young trees. The effects of seasonal differences at a given site are small compared with between-site differences. We suggest that the level of understory fertility may provide a simple indicator of overall ecosystem productivity.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
216
    216
  • Thumbnail: Page 
217
    217
  • Thumbnail: Page 
218
    218
  • Thumbnail: Page 
219
    219
  • Thumbnail: Page 
220
    220
  • Thumbnail: Page 
221
    221
  • Thumbnail: Page 
222
    222
  • Thumbnail: Page 
223
    223
  • Thumbnail: Page 
224
    224
  • Thumbnail: Page 
225
    225
  • Thumbnail: Page 
226
    226
  • Thumbnail: Page 
227
    227
Part of Sustainability