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Effect of competition on spatial patterns of oak forests on the Chinese Loess Plateau
- Kang, Di, Deng, Jian, Qin, Xiaowei, Hao, Fei, Guo, Shujuan, Han, Xinhui, Yang, Gaihe
- Journal of Arid Land 2017 v.9 no.1 pp. 122-131
- Betula, Pinus, Quercus, arid lands, dominant species, early development, forests, homogenization, kriging, land degradation, natural regeneration, pioneer species, reforestation, seeds, soil erosion, temporal variation, trees, China
- Reforestation or natural forest regeneration is an alternative measure for controlling soil erosion in degraded land on the Chinese Loess Plateau (CLP). However, our understanding of the temporal dynamics and the spatial patterns of forest regeneration remains inadequate. Two oak forests at different development stages were investigated to determine the spatial patterns of competitions (intraspecies and interspecies) during different successional stages. The intraspecies and interspecies spatial relationships among different tree diameters at breast height were analyzed at multiple scales by Kriging interpolation method and univariate and bivariate O-ring statistics. Our analytical results indicated that self-correlation and competition intensity were relatively high between oak and pine trees in the early development stage of oak forests due to their clumped distributions of heavy seeds. Birch trees had a lower competition in comparison to oak trees although birch was the dominant species. Therefore, asymmetric competition of oak trees was most likely to have led to their edge dispersal and their success in replacing the pioneer species. Asymmetric competition means that larger individuals obtained a disproportionately large share of the resources and suppressed the growth of smaller individuals. Kriging interpolation analysis showed a tendency towards homogenization caused by interspecies competition during the succession of oak forests. Our results demonstrated that the competition was the driving factor in the spatial distribution of oak forests on the CLP.