|Reference : Geological Substrates Shape Tree Species and Trait Distributions in African Moist Forests|
|Scientific journals : Article|
|Life sciences : Phytobiology (plant sciences, forestry, mycology...)|
Life sciences : Environmental sciences & ecology
|Geological Substrates Shape Tree Species and Trait Distributions in African Moist Forests|
|[en] Le substrat géologique façonne la distribution des espèces et des traits dans les forêts tropicales humides africaines|
|Fayolle, Adeline [Université de Liège - ULg > Forêts, Nature et Paysage > Gestion des ressources forestières et des milieux naturels >]|
|Engelbrecht, Bettina |
|Freycon, Vincent |
|Mortier, Frédéric |
|Swaine, Michael |
|Réjou-Méchain, Maxime |
|Doucet, Jean-Louis [Université de Liège - ULg > Forêts, Nature et Paysage > Laboratoire de Foresterie des régions trop. et subtropicales >]|
|Fauvet, Nicolas |
|Cornu, Guillaume |
|Gourlet-Fleury, Sylvie |
|Public Library of Science|
|[en] Environmental filtering ; Forest inventory ; Growth rate ; Leaf phenology ; Sandy soils ; Shade tolerance ; Wood density|
|[en] Background: Understanding the factors that shape the distribution of tropical tree species at large scales is a central issue in ecology, conservation and forest management. The aims of this study were to (i) assess the importance of environmental factors relative to historical factors for tree species distributions in the semi-evergreen forests of the northern Congo basin; and to (ii) identify potential mechanisms explaining distribution patterns through a trait-based approach.
Methodology/Principal Findings: We analyzed the distribution patterns of 31 common tree species in an area of more than 700,000 km² spanning the borders of Cameroon, the Central African Republic, and the Republic of Congo using forest inventory data from 56,445 0.5-ha plots. Spatial variation of environmental (climate, topography and geology) and historical factors (human disturbance) were quantified from maps and satellite records. Four key functional traits (leaf phenology, shade tolerance, wood density, and maximum growth rate) were extracted from the literature. The geological substrate was of major importance for the distribution of the focal species, while climate and past human disturbances had a significant but lesser impact. Species distribution patterns were significantly related to functional traits. Species associated with sandy soils typical of sandstone and alluvium were characterized by slow growth rates, shade tolerance, evergreen leaves, and high wood density, traits allowing persistence on resource-poor soils. In contrast, fast-growing pioneer species rarely
occurred on sandy soils, except for Lophira alata.
Conclusions/Significance: The results indicate strong environmental filtering due to differential soil resource availability across geological substrates. Additionally, long-term human disturbances in resource-rich areas may have accentuated the observed patterns of species and trait distributions. Trait differences across geological substrates imply pronounced differences in population and ecosystem processes, and call for different conservation and management strategies.
|Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement (CIRAD)|
|Union Européenne = European Union - UE = EU|
|Researchers ; Professionals ; Students|
|(C) 2012 Fayolle et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.|
|This study is part of the ErA Net BiodivERsA CoForChange project which involves the following companies: Alpicam, Bois et Placages et Lopola, Danzer, Congolaise Industriale des Bois, Industries Forestieres de Batalino, Likouala Timber, Mokabi SA. and Vicwood. The authors thank the timber companies Alpicam, BPL, Danzer, DLH, IFB, Likouala Timber, Rougier, SEFCA, SCAD, SCAF and Vicwood for authorizing access to the inventory data, and the field teams who conducted the inventories. The consulting firm Forest Resource Management (FRM), facilitated contacts and exchange with several logging companies, participated in data collection and data compiling, and provided their inventory data files. There are no patents, products in development or marketed products to declare. This does not alter the authors’ adherence to all the PLoS ONE policies on sharing data and materials, as detailed online in the guide for authors.|
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