Tree Dispersion, Abundance, and Diversity in a Tropical Dry Forest

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Science  30 Mar 1979:
Vol. 203, Issue 4387, pp. 1299-1309
DOI: 10.1126/science.203.4387.1299


Patterns of tree abundance and dispersion in a tropical deciduous (dry) forest are summarized. The generalization that tropical trees have spaced adults did not hold. All species were either clumped or randomly dispersed, with rare species more clumped than common species. Breeding system was unrelated to species abundance or dispersion, but clumping was related to mode of seed dispersal. Juvenile densities decreased approximately exponentially away from adults. Rare species gave evidence of poor reproductive performance compared with their performance when common in nearby forests. Patterns of relative species abundance in the dry forest are compared with patterns in other forests, and are explained by a simple stochastic model based on random-walk immigration and extinction set in motion by periodic community disturbance.

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