The limited importance of size-asymmetric light competition and growth of pioneer species in early secondary forest succession in Vietnam

Marijke van Kuijk*, N.P.R. Anten, R.J. Oomen, D.W. van Bentum, M.J.A. Werger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

It is generally believed that asymmetric competition for light plays a predominant role in determining the course of succession by increasing size inequalities between plants. Size-related growth is the product of size-related light capture and light-use efficiency (LUE). We have used a canopy model to calculate light capture and photosynthetic rates of pioneer species in sequential vegetation stages of a young secondary forest stand. Growth of the same saplings was followed in time as succession proceeded. Photosynthetic rate per unit plant mass (P mass: mol C g-1 day-1), a proxy for plant growth, was calculated as the product of light capture efficiency [Φmass: mol photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) g-1 day-1] and LUE (mol C mol PPFD-1). Species showed different morphologies and photosynthetic characteristics, but their light-capturing and light-use efficiencies, and thus P mass, did not differ much. This was also observed in the field: plant growth was not size-asymmetric. The size hierarchy that was present from the very early beginning of succession remained for at least the first 5 years. We conclude, therefore, that in slow-growing regenerating vegetation stands, the importance of asymmetric competition for light and growth can be much less than is often assumed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
JournalOecologia
Volume157
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2008
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Canopy model
  • Light capture
  • Photosynthesis
  • Regeneration
  • Tropical forest

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