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Pattern and Composition of Secondary Succession Beneath Caribbean Pine Plantations of Southwest Sri Lanka

Tomimura, Chisato, Singhakumara, B. M. P., Ashton, P. Mark S.
Journal of sustainable forestry 2012 v.31 no.8 pp. 818-834
Clidemia hirta, Pinus caribaea, canopy, flora, plantations, rain forests, secondary succession, shrubs, tea, trees, Sri Lanka
This study examined the vegetation growing beneath Caribbean pine (Pinus caribaea) plantations established within previously abandoned tea lands adjacent to intact rain forest in southwest Sri Lanka. To examine the pattern and composition of secondary succession and factors affecting it, vegetation was sampled in different relative locations (interior and edge conditions) within plantations. Results demonstrated that more vegetation was found near the plantation edges than in the interior, and this pattern was prominent for both wind- and bird- dispersed species. The vegetation represented a mixture of species belonging to a range of successional guilds representing early (17 species, 42.4% in stem count) and late-successional species (52 species, 40.6%), although native long-lived canopy tree species were mostly absent. Bird-dispersed species dominated the flora (80 species, 86.7% in stem count). Abundance of an exotic shrub Clidemia hirta (Melastomataceae) showed a negative correlation with that of other species, indicating its impact on native flora. Underplanting of native canopy species may be effective in assisting secondary succession and control C. hirta in the plantations.