Demographic strategies of a dominant tree species in response to logging in a degraded subtropical forest in Southeast China

The demography of pioneer tree species (Pinus massoniana Lamb.) is significantly affected by logging in Southeast China. Logging negatively affects the population growth rate of P. massoniana, which facilitates the growth of individual trees but has no effect on reproduction probability. The survival and growth of seedlings contribute the most to population growth.

Context Subtropical forest degradation caused by unreasonable disturbances is closely related to anthropogenic activities in Southeast China, and the frequent small-scale logging activity by local people was the dominated disturbance regime in forests in this region over the past several decades.
Aims The objective of this study is to evaluate the demographic consequences of logging on Pinus massoniana, a pioneer tree species, at individual level (survival, growth, and fecundity) and population level (the population growth rate and size distribution) over short-term period.
Methods The size of tree individuals was combined with vital rates using various modeling approaches based on demographic data from three annual censuses. The integral projection model (IPM) was constructed and used to conduct comparative demographic analyses.
Results Logging negatively affected the population growth rate: from a slight expansion before logging to a moderate decline after logging. This study found a significant reduction in seedling recruitment after logging, and plant growth and mortality were slightly enhanced. The survival of seedlings greatly contributes to population growth rate compared to other life stages for both periods (before and after logging) while its relative importance decreases after logging. Seedling growth is also important to population growth, and its relative importance increased after logging. Shrinkage and fecundity have a minimal contribution effect on the population growth rate.
Conclusion Growing plants in a nursery with a similar demography to P. massoniana could be beneficial for pioneer species regeneration in that this will improve the survival rate and growth of small individuals after logging.

Pinus massoniana, Logging, Integral projection model, Elasticity, Degraded subtropical forest, Pioneer tree demography

Yang, X., Li, S., Shen, B. et al. Annals of Forest Science (2018) 75: 84.

For the read-only version of the full text:

Data availability
The datasets generated during and/or analyzed during the current study are available in the PANGAEA repository,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.