Temporal Changes in Species, Phylogenetic, and Functional Diversity of Temperate Tree Communities: Insights From Assembly Patterns.
ABSTRACT: Species-based approaches to the analysis of changes in successional community assemblages are limited in the ability to reflect long-term evolutionary and functional trait responses of organisms to environment change. Recent advances in concepts and analyses of community phylogenetics and functional traits have improved the interpretation and understanding of community assembly processes. Here, we examined phylogenetic signals of four functional traits such as maximum height, leaf size, seed mass and wood density in woody plant species and temporal changes in species, phylogenetic, and functional diversity among forest strata (i.e., whole, overstory, and understory strata) at four forest long term ecological research sites in South Korea. A census of woody plant species was implemented in a 1-ha permanent plot of each study site every 5 years. We analyzed community structure and compositional turnover using twenty-five 20 × 20 m2 quadrat data converted from 1-ha plot data of each site. We found that phylogenetic signals for four functional traits were low but significant, indicating that phylogenetic diversity may be used as a crude surrogate measure of functional diversity. Temporal changes in alpha and beta components of the three diversity differed among forest strata and four study sites over time. This study also revealed that the temporal changes of phylogenetic and functional diversity for understory strata in a forest, which were consecutively damaged by typhoon, were more extreme and larger than those of understory strata in the other sites. Therefore, our study supports recent studies that plant community structures differ among forest strata and such differences of community structure among sites can be accelerated by disturbance. Although the role and relative importance of niche-based deterministic and neutral processes for the patterns of successional community structure differed among the study sites, we found niche-based deterministic processes are the dominant drivers in structuring plant community assembly regardless of forest age and disturbance in this study. From these results, our study suggests that contemporary forest ecosystems are composed of mosaics of plant communities that are formed by interactions among various processes.
PROVIDER: S-EPMC6433699 | BioStudies |