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Effects of the Surrounding Matrix on Tree Recruitment in Amazonian Forest Fragments

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Little is known about how the surrounding modified matrix affects tree recruitment in fragmented forests. We contrasted effects of two different matrix types, Vismia- and Cecropia-dominated regrowth, on recruitment of pioneer tree species in forest fragments in central Amazonia. Our analyses were based on 22, 1-ha plots in seven experimental forest fragments ranging in size from 1 to 100 ha. By 13 to 17 years after fragmentation, the population density of pioneer trees was significantly higher in plots surrounded by Vismia regrowth than in plots surrounded by Cecropia regrowth, and the species composition and dominance of pioneers differed markedly between the two matrix types. Cecropia sciadophylla was the most abundant pioneer in fragments surrounded by Cecropia regrowth (constituting nearly 50% of all pioneer trees), whereas densities of species in Vismia-surrounded fragments were distributed more evenly. Thus the surrounding matrix had a strong influence on patterns of tree recruitment in Amazonian forest fragments.
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Keywords: Amazon; bosque lluvioso; edge effects; efectos de borde; especies pioneras; forest fragmentation; fragmentación de bosques; pioneer species; rain forest

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project, National Institute for Amazonian Research (INPA), C.P. 478, Manaus, AM 69011-970, Brazil 2: Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Apartado 2072, Balboa, Republic of Panama 3: Department of Botany, National Institute for Amazonian Research (INPA), C.P. 478, Manaus, AM 69011-970, Brazil

Publication date: June 1, 2006

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