Hampe, A., García-Castaño, J.L., Schupp, E.W., and Jordano, P. 2008. Initial recruitment of vertebrate-dispersed woody plants: a spatially explicit analysis across years. Journal of Ecology, 96: 668-678.
Initial recruitment, or the arrival and establishment of propagules, is the most variable period in the life cycle of long-lived plants, and it remains unresolved to what extent it can be used to predict patterns of regeneration. We investigated the spatio-temporal dynamics of initial recruitment across five populations of three fleshy-fruited tree species from contrasting environments. Among-year variation in seedfall and seedling distributions was examined using analytical approaches that explicitly incorporate space and allow a direct comparison of different studies. Observed patterns ranged from remarkable stability and spatial coupling between seed and seedling stages to extensive variation and almost complete independence of stages. Despite the idiosyncrasies of particular patterns, greater long-term density of recruitment at a given patch was in all populations associated with greater year-to-year consistency. Those patches that combine intense and consistent recruitment should represent potential regeneration ‘hotspots’, whose identification can help to forecast spatial patterns of establishment in long-lived species.
|Photo: 1st-year seedling of Prunus mahaleb.|