Niels Anten, Galia Selaya and Marijke van Kuijk

Light competition during early secondary forest succession: How does it work and can we give it direction?

Niels Anten, Galia Selaya and Marijke van Kuijk

Section Ecology and Biodiversity, Institute of Environmental Biology, Utrecht University



Secondary forests are now the dominant forest type in the tropics while they provide many of the same ecosystem functions (e.g. food supply and C sequetration) as primary forests. There is thus urgent need for a mechanistic understanding of how succession proceeds and why it stagnates. How do pioneers initially become dominant, how can later successional species persist in the shade of the pioneers and does the climbing habit of lianas give them an advantage in light competition? It is further important to investigate management options by which succession can be directed and stagnation avoided. In my lecture I will show plant canopy and growth models can be used to provide some of the answers to these questions.