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      Plant diversity in tropical forests: a review of mechanisms of species coexistence

      Oecologia
      Springer Nature

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          Abstract

          Evidence concerning mechanisms hypothesized to explain species coexistence in hyper-diverse communities is reviewed for tropical forest plants. Three hypotheses receive strong support. Niche differences are evident from non-random spatial distributions along micro-topographic gradients and from a survivorship-growth tradeoff during regeneration. Host-specific pests reduce recruitment near reproductive adults (the Janzen-Connell effect), and, negative density dependence occurs over larger spatial scales among the more abundant species and may regulate their populations. A fourth hypothesis, that suppressed understory plants rarely come into competition with one another, has not been considered before and has profound implications for species coexistence. These hypotheses are mutually compatible. Infrequent competition among suppressed understory plants, niche differences, and Janzen-Connell effects may facilitate the coexistence of the many rare plant species found in tropical forests while negative density dependence regulates the few most successful and abundant species.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Oecologia
          Oecologia
          Springer Nature
          0029-8549
          1432-1939
          January 2002
          January 2002
          : 130
          : 1
          : 1-14
          Article
          10.1007/s004420100809
          28547014
          303f33b8-7c46-433a-acba-5bafec94f0a2
          © 2002
          History

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