Anales del Jardín Botánico de Madrid, Vol 58, No 1 (2000)

Competition, mortality, and development of spatial patterns in two Cantabrian populations of Fagus sylvatica L. (Fagaceae)

Vicente Rozas
Unidad de Botánica, Departamento de Biología de Organismos y Sistemas, Universidad de Oviedo, Spain

José Antonio Fernández Prieto
Instituto de Recursos Naturales y Ordenación del Territorio, Spain


In this paper the spatial patterns of size and mortality of European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) were analy sed in two deciduous forest plots of Northern Spain. ¿i general terms, radial growth of F. sylvatica yields a direct relationship with size and an inverse relation with intraspecific competition while tree mortality seems be related to intraspecific competition. In the overall even-aged population, a lack of a recognisable structure in tree-size distribution, a small-scale regularity of survivors, and a regular pattern of dominant trees was noticed. This is a consequence of intense intraspecific competition at local level. In the old-growth plot, the wide repulsión between small and large beeches yields a specific spatial structure in tree-size distribution, showing even-sized groups of trees in different stages. Mortality in this plot occurs mainly within the dense group of small trees, which produces a broad regular pattern among the live beech trees. The random spatial pattern of dominant beeches seems to be characteristic of old-growth forests and could be a consequence of either self-thinning processes or exogenous factors.


Fagaceae; Fagus sylvatica L.; forest dynamics; spatial pattern; spatial autocorrelación; age structure; competition; mortal

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