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Title: Litter cover variability affects seedling performance and herbivory
Authors: Benítez-Malvido, Julieta
Ferraz, Isolde Dorothea Kossmann
Keywords: Growth Rate
Performance Assessment
Chrysophyllum Pomiferum
Chrysophyllum Pomiferum
Micropholis Venulosa
Micropholis Venulosa
Pouteria Caimito
Pouteria Caimito
Pouteria Peruviensis
Pouteria Peruviensis
Issue Date: 1999
metadata.dc.publisher.journal: Biotropica
metadata.dc.relation.ispartof: Volume 31, Número 4, Pags. 598-606
Abstract: We assessed the effects of litter cover on herbivory and performance (annual survival and relative growth rate in height and leaf number) for established seedlings (·9 cm tall, and ≥4 mo old), of four shade-tolerant, large-seeded, co-occurring Sapotaceae species. Seedlings were divided into three litter treatments: (1) litter addition, (2) control, and (3) continuous litter removal. The mean survival for all treatments in descending order were: Chrysophyllum pomiferum (89%), Pouteria peruviensis (84%), P. caimito (75%), and Micropholis venulosa (40%). For all variables, species differed significantly within litter treatments. In M. venulosa, survival and relative growth rate in leaf number significantly decreased with the removal of litter, whereas herbivory increased. Relative growth rate in height of P- peruviensis decreased significantly with litter removal, while the levels of herbivory were higher with the addition of litter. Conversely, litter quantity had no effect on the performance of C. pomiferum, but herbivory was lower in the removal treatment. Finally, in P. caimito, litter treatment did not affect performance or herbivory. Results suggest that differences in litter quantity differentially affect tree species with similar biology (i.e., large-seeds, shade tolerance) in life stages other than germination and early establishment. The variability in species' responses to litter might be an important factor in determining species richness, abundance, and distribution of tropical rain forest tree species at the seedling level.
metadata.dc.identifier.doi: 10.1111/j.1744-7429.1999.tb00407.x
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