Do isolated gallery-forest trees facilitate recruitment of forest seedlings and saplings in savanna?
Facilitation is an ecological process that allows some species to establish in environments they can hardly afford in the absence of the process. This study investigated if the subcanopy of gallery-forest trees isolated in savanna is suitable for the early recruitment of forest woody species. We measured tree crown area as well as the density of seedlings and saplings of gallery-forest tree species beneath isolated trees and in the savanna matrix along 50 transects of 5-km long and 600 m wide located along four gallery forests. We then tested the nurse-plant effect and Janzen-Connell hypothesis beneath isolated trees. We also examined the relationships between the crown area and the density of seedlings and saplings. Among the eight identified tree species isolated in savanna, only Daniellia oliveri and Khaya senegalensis showed nurse-plant effect and promoted a significant, yet low early recruitment with a seedling-to-sapling survival of 0.044 and 0.578, respectively. The suitability of the subcanopy of isolated trees decreased with the recruitment progression and Janzen-Connell effects were absent. Seedlings had neutral association with the crown area of isolated trees which shifted to positive at the sapling stage. The species of the isolated tree and the crown area explained less than 20 % of total variance, indicating that other predictive factors are important in explaining the nurse-plant effect observed in this study.
Source de publication: Acta Oecologica 53 (2013): 11-18
Contacts du ou des auteur(s): Akomian Fortuné Azihou (firstname.lastname@example.org), Romain Glèlè Kakaï, Brice Sinsin
|Contributor||K. Gisele Sinasson S.|
|Keywords||Benin, dispersal, facilitation, early recruitment, Janzen-Connell hypothesis, woody species|