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Forest Seedling Establishment in Neotropical Savannas: Transplant Experiments with Xylopia frutescens and Calophyllum brasiliense

Martin Kellman
Journal of Biogeography
Vol. 12, No. 4 (Jul., 1985), pp. 373-379
Published by: Wiley
DOI: 10.2307/2844868
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2844868
Page Count: 7
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Forest Seedling Establishment in Neotropical Savannas: Transplant Experiments with Xylopia frutescens and Calophyllum brasiliense
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Abstract

Observations on the survivorship, growth and tissue nutrient content of seedlings of two forest tree species have been used to test the hypothesis that trees and shrubs of Neotropical savannas facilitate the establishment of forest trees. Xylopia frutescens was grown from seed planted beneath and beyond the cover of five savanna trees and shrubs, and observed for 5 years. Calophyllum brasiliense seedlings were transplanted from forest to sites beneath and beyond Byrsonima crassifolia trees and observed for 3 years. In both species survivorship and growth of seedlings was superior beneath tree covers and it was unlikely that any open-grown plant would survive to reproduce. Xylopia seedling growth beneath Miconia albicans was also superior to that beneath and any other cover type. Despite these differences in perfomance, an analysis of mineral nutrient content of tissues of seedlings from covered and open sites failed to show dramatic differences, although there was evidence of lower K contents in poorly performing Xylopia seedlings and of lower Ca concentrations in open grown Calophyllum seedlings. The results confirm the facilitative role that can be played by woody savanna plants during forest invasion of savannas, and it is suggested that a closed thicket of these plants is a probable early stage in the transformation process.

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