You are not currently logged in.
Access JSTOR through your library or other institution:
If You Use a Screen ReaderThis 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.
Geographical Variation in Fertility, Phenology, and Composition of the Understory of Neotropical Forests
A. H. Gentry and L. H. Emmons
Vol. 19, No. 3 (Sep., 1987), pp. 216-227
Published by: Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2388339
Page Count: 12
You can always find the topics here!Topics: Understory, Plants, Soil fertility, Forest soils, Dry seasons, Tropical forests, Fruiting, Alluvial soils, Shrubs, Rain
Were these topics helpful?See something inaccurate? Let us know!
Select the topics that are inaccurate.
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.
Preview not available
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.
Biotropica © 1987 Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation