Rain forest islands in the chilean semiarid region: Fog-dependency, ecosystem persistence and tree regeneration
Tree presence in semiarid ecosystems is generally constrained by insufficient annual rainfall. However, in semiarid Chile, rainforest patches dominated by Aextoxicon punctatum are unexpectedly found on coastal mountaintops (450-600 m) at 30Â°S, surrounded by a xerophytic vegetation matrix that receives only 147 mm of annual precipitation. It has been proposed that these forests persist as a result of fog-water inputs. If so, then because fog-water deposition is spatially heterogeneous and shows strong edge effects, the potential environmental gradient created by the direction of fog input should determine forest structure and tree regeneration patterns. To investigate this hypothesis, we measured fog inputs, forest structural attributes (age and size distribution, basal area, and coarse woody debris), and tree regeneration in three different habitats: the windward edges (WE), leeward edges (LE), and the interior (center) of rainforest patches varying in area from 0.2 to 22 ha. Mean fog-water input was estimated from passive collectors over 1 year in WE and LE of patches. Tree regeneration was greater in the WE and forest interior (FI) and decreased toward the LE of patches, following a marked pattern of decline in fog inputs. Older trees and coarse woody debris were concentrated in the FI and LE of patches. Tree regeneration and patch structure appear to be largely controlled by fog-input direction and edge effects. We propose that forest patches may be slowly growing toward the incoming fog edge, while dying at the opposite edge. Â© 2006 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.
|Título según WOS:||Rain forest islands in the chilean semiarid region: Fog-dependency, ecosystem persistence and tree regeneration|
|Título según SCOPUS:||Rain forest islands in the Chilean semiarid region: Fog-dependency, ecosystem persistence and tree regeneration|
|Título de la Revista:||ECOSYSTEMS|
|Fecha de publicación:||2006|
|Página de inicio:||598|