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Tree Mortality in Mature Lowland Tropical Moist and Tropical Lower Montane Moist Forests of Venezuela

Eileen V. Carey, Sandra Brown, Andrew J. R. Gillespie and Ariel E. Lugo
Biotropica
Vol. 26, No. 3 (Sep., 1994), pp. 255-265
DOI: 10.2307/2388846
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2388846
Page Count: 11
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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.
Tree Mortality in Mature Lowland Tropical Moist and Tropical Lower Montane Moist Forests of Venezuela
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Abstract

We examined patterns of mortality from long-term (up to 25 yr) forest inventory data collected from 17 0.25-ha plots representing mature tropical lowland moist forest and tropical lower montane moist forest life zones in Venezuela. Annual mortality rates varied greatly among plots and differed when mortality was calculated on a frequency basis (% stems dying annually) versus a biomass (% total aboveground biomass dying annually) basis. Mortality rates ranged from 0.5 to 3.3 percent (stems) and 0.1 to 3.9 percent (biomass). Annual mortality rate of stems versus mortality rate of biomass differed by as much as 20 percent within a plot; greater mortality rate of biomass on a yearly basis was attributable to the death of large trees. Annual percent mortality was independent of life zone, diameter class within life zone, and crown class. The majority of trees died standing (64%) followed by fallen (17%), snapped (11%), and other unknown causes (11%). Estimates of the mean half-life of all plots were 36.9 and 42.5 yr based on stems and biomass, respectively, in the tropical moist forest, and 39 3 and 36.3 yr, respectively, in the tropical lower montane moist forest. Large diameter classes had the longest half-lives. Similarity in stem and biomass based half-lives within a life zone suggests that although there is great variability at the individual plot scale, stems and biomass yield similar estimates of mortality at the larger life zone scale.

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