Understanding the mechanisms of secondary succession related to forest management practices is receiving increasing attention in community ecology and biodiversity conservation. Abiotic and biotic filtering are deterministic processes driving community reassembly. A functional trait or phylogeny-based approach predicts that environmental filtering induced by clearcut-logging results in functional/phylogenetic clustering in younger forests, while biotic filtering (competitive exclusion) promotes functional/phylogenetic overdispersion in old-growth forests. From this perspective, we examined the patterns of functional/phylogenetic structures using tree community data (147 species × 170 plots). These data were chronosequenced from clearcut secondary forests to old-growth subtropical forests in the Ryukyu Archipelago, with species’ trait data (leaf and stem) and species level phylogeny. To detect clustering or overdispersion in the functional and phylogenetic structures, we calculated the standardized effect size of mean nearest trait distance and mean nearest phylogenetic distance within the plots. Functional or phylogenetic clustering was relatively weak in secondary forests, and their directional change with increasing forest age was not generally detected. Mean nearest trait/phylogenetic distance for most plots fell within the range of random expectation. The results suggest that abiotic/biotic filtering related to functional traits or phylogenetic relatedness plays a diminished role in shaping species assembly during secondary succession in the subtropical forest. Our findings of functional and phylogenetic properties might shed light on the importance of dispersal (stochastic) processes in the regional species pool during community reassembly after anthropogenic disturbance. It will also contribute to the development of coordinated schemes that maintain potential species assembly processes in the subtropical forest.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics