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Stand Structure and Dynamics in the Temperate Rain Forests of Chiloe Archipelago, Chile

Juan J. Armesto and Javier Figueroa
Journal of Biogeography
Vol. 14, No. 4 (Jul., 1987), pp. 367-376
Published by: Wiley
DOI: 10.2307/2844944
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2844944
Page Count: 10
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Stand Structure and Dynamics in the Temperate Rain Forests of Chiloe Archipelago, Chile
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Abstract

We compared the structure and dynamics of selected stands (c. 0.8 ha) of rain forest in four islands (Alao, Chaulinec, Talcan, and Isla Grande) of the Chiloe Archipelago (c. 42 30 S). In each forest stand, we tallied and measured the diameter at breast height (d.b.h.) of all canopy trees $(>10 cm d.b.h.)$ within two 20× 20 m plots. We also estimated the abundance of seedlings and saplings in each plot. The stands were dominated by broad-leaved evergreen trees and had in common the presence of several species of Myrtaceous trees in their canopies. Nothofagus spp. were absent from all but one stand. Structurally, the forests were dominated by different species, although overall species composition was similar. Drimys winteri was dominant in Talcan and Chaulinec, Aextoxicon punctatum was dominant in Alao, and Amomyrtus luma was dominant in Islan Grande. Laurelia philippiana, A. luma, and Myrceugenia planipes were common to all forests. Nothofagus dombeyi was only present in Talcan, represented by a few, large emergent trees. The distribution of individuals by d.b.h. classes (every 5 cm, from 10 to $>40$) showed that the forests of Alao and Chaulinec are dominated by individuals in the smallest d.b.h. class (about 50% of all stems). In the other forests, those individuals made up only 20% of the canopy, and larger trees were more common. Because of the smaller size and relative isolation of the forest patches in Alao and Chaulinec, this pattern might be attributed to invasion of these stands by species from surrounding second growth forest. Comparison of tree species densities between plots 1 and 2 in each forest revealed that the distribution of young $(<15 cm d.b.h.)$ individuals is highly patchy within a stand for all dominant species. This result is consistent with the hypothesis that the regeneration of dominant species is favoured within tree fall gaps. A broader scale of patchiness, reltaed to the episodic occurrence of stand-devastating disturbances, could explain the persistence of Nothofagus dombeyi populations in Talcan. Recruitment of seedlings and saplings in the forests studied was positivy correlated with the abundance of each species in the canopy. Accordingly, dominance will be maintained in these forests in the absence of standdisrupting disturbances.

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