Dance with neighbors: What have we learned about species coexistence in tree communities from the global stem-mapped forest plots?
Over the past 30 years, the Center for Tropical Forest Sciences has established a global stem-mapping forest plots network consisting of 5 million trees representing nearly 9000 species. This network has fundamentally changed the way forest biodiversity is studied. The fully mapped plots contain complete spatial locations of every single tree in a plot of, typically, 50 ha in size. Such spatial data are essential for inferring mechanisms of species coexistence. This working group, consisting of 16 multidisciplinary researchers, seeks to achieve two objectives. The first is to synthesize our understanding of the role that neighborhood spatial structure plays in mediating species coexistence in tree communities from the three decades long publications of the network. The second is to develop new methods for quantifying the spatial interaction of multispecies and the spatio-temporal dynamics of tree point processes. This working group will contribute to a synthetic understanding of the maintenance mechanisms for tree communities from the spatial perspective and will further foster international collaborations in forest biodiversity study.
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This work is supported by the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, a Center funded by NSF (Grant #EF-0553768), the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the State of California.