Acta Botanica Brasilica
Print version ISSN 0102-3306
LOREGIAN, Alexandre Copatti et al. Spatial and ecological patterns of tree species reflect patch dynamics of a subtropical forest. Acta Bot. Bras. [online]. 2012, vol.26, n.3, pp. 593-606. ISSN 0102-3306. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-33062012000300009.
The abundance and spatial distribution of species may reflect on niche requirements, interactions among individuals and across as time and space. In this way, the aims of this work were to analyze tree species distribution and ecological groups in a remnant of subtropical forest to evaluate the interference of such patterns over richness and diversity metrics. We evaluated the spatial patterns of a 1 ha area divided into 10 x 10 m sampling units where we surveyed all living trees with perimeter at breast height > 15 cm. Pattern descriptions were obtained by using correlograms (Moran's I) over several distance classes, aggregation indices and surface diagrams. The co-occurrence among species was obtained by using spatial association indices. Furthermore, 17 species showed aggregated distribution and positive spatial autocorrelation, mainly in the shorter distance classes, which indicated the occurrence of several small groups of individuals. In addition, many species were spatially associated with dense groups and although such groups do not influence species richness, Casearia sylvestris and Ocotea diospyrifolia led to lower equability in some stands. Shade tolerant species were associated well as light demanding ones, which indicates that patch dynamics may interfere directly on species distribution, mainly by dispersal limitation.
Keywords : correlograms; dispersion limitation; distance indices; spatial autocorrelation; species richness.