Publication Details

Title: Traits and Resource Use of Co-Occurring Introduced and Native Trees in a Tropical Novel Forest

Author(s): Jéssica Fonseca da Silva; Ernesto Medina; Ariel Lugo. [External Site: Opens in New Window]

Year: 2017

Source: Forests

Abstract: Novel forests are naturally regenerating forests that have established on degraded lands and have a species composition strongly influenced by introduced species. We studied ecophysiological traits of an introduced species (Castilla elastica Sessé) and several native species growing side by side in novel forests dominated by C. elastica in Puerto Rico. We hypothesized that C. elastica has higher photosynthetic capacity and makes more efficient use of resources than co-occurring native species. Using light response curves, we found that the photosynthetic capacity of C. elastica is similar to that of native species, and that different parameters of the curves reflected mostly sun light variation across the forest strata. However, photosynthetic nitrogen use-efficiency as well as leaf area/mass ratios were higher for C. elastica, and both the amount of C and N per unit area were lower, highlighting the different ecological strategies of the introduced and native plants. Presumably, those traits support C. elastica’s dominance over native plants in the study area. We provide empirical data on the ecophysiology of co-occurring plants in a novel forest, and show evidence that different resource-investment strategies co-occur in this type of ecosystem.

Citation: Fonseca da Silva, Jéssica; Medina, Ernesto; Lugo, Ariel 2017.Traits and Resource Use of Co-Occurring Introduced and Native Trees in a Tropical Novel Forest. Forests. 8(9): 339-.

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Page last modified: 03/07/2018