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Abundance and distribution of cavity trees in an old-growth subtropical montane evergreen broad-leaved forest

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We examined the relationship between the density of cavity trees and forest structure characteristics and explored the occurrence of cavity trees among different tree species and diameter breast height (DBH) size in a subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest in the Ailao Mountains in southwestern China. Cavity trees accounted for 7.9% of living trees and 16.3% of dead trees. Average density of living cavity trees (86.3 trees·ha–1) was 6.9 times that of dead cavity trees. Density of living cavity trees was positively correlated with the density of living trees. Cavity trees showed a skewed distribution among DBH classes that peaked at DBHs of 20–40cm. Moreover, the probability that a living tree was cavity-bearing was logistically related to DBH. Overall, the likelihood of trees being cavity-bearing differed significantly among species. The proportions of cavity trees among the 23 species having more than 63 trees were positively related to the average DBH and to the largest DBH recorded for each species. We suggest that (1) living tree density is important in determining density of cavity trees and (2) differences in proportion of living cavity trees among species is caused mostly by differences in average DBH of each species.

Nous avons examiné la relation entre la densité des arbres creux et les caractéristiques structurales de la forêt et nous avons étudié l’occurrence des arbres creux selon l’espèce et la dimension (DHP) des arbres dans une forêt feuillue sempervirente subtropicale située dans les monts Ailao, dans le sud-ouest de la Chine. Les arbres creux représentaient 7,9 % des arbres vivants et 16,3 % des arbres morts. La densité moyenne des arbres creux vivants (86,3 arbres·ha–1) était 6,9 fois supérieure à celle des arbres creux morts. La densité des arbres creux vivants était positivement corrélée à celle des arbres vivants. La distribution de la densité des arbres creux vivants en fonction des classes de DHP était asymétrique et culminait avec les DHP de 20–40 cm. De plus, la probabilité qu’un arbre vivant soit creux était logistiquement reliée au DHP. Globalement, les chances qu’un arbre soit creux étaient significativement différentes selon l’espèce. La proportion d’arbres creux parmi les 23 espèces comptant plus de 63 arbres était positivement reliée au DHP moyen et au plus grand DHP observés chez chaque espèce. Nos résultats indiquent que (1) la densité des arbres vivants a un effet déterminant sur la densité des arbres creux et (2) les différences entre les espèces dans la proportion d’arbres creux vivants sont principalement dues aux différences entre le DHP moyen de chaque espèce.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2009

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  • Published since 1971, this monthly journal features articles, reviews, notes and commentaries on all aspects of forest science, including biometrics and mensuration, conservation, disturbance, ecology, economics, entomology, fire, genetics, management, operations, pathology, physiology, policy, remote sensing, social science, soil, silviculture, wildlife and wood science, contributed by internationally respected scientists. It also publishes special issues dedicated to a topic of current interest.
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