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Revista chilena de historia natural

Print version ISSN 0716-078X

Abstract

DONOSO, Pablo J.  and  NYLAND, Ralph D.. Seedling density according to structure, dominance and understory cover in old-growth forest stands of the evergreen forest type in the coastal range of Chile. Rev. chil. hist. nat. [online]. 2005, vol.78, n.1, pp.51-63. ISSN 0716-078X.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0716-078X2005000100005.

Securing timely regeneration is essential in maintaining the long-term ecological or silvicultural functions and values of forests. Its establishment, in turn, depends on many factors, including the structure and composition of the forest itself. Available information shows that seedling density varies greatly across the evergreen forest type in Chile. Yet stand variables that may affect the establishment of advance regeneration have not been studied. To that end, we evaluated seven stands of the coastal range, within the northern part of the evergreen forest type (39°14'-40°16' S). We documented understory cover, tree density and dominance, and stand structure, and used the information to assess their effects over seedling density. Findings indicate that Laurelia philippiana was the dominant canopy and regenerating species in these stands. Also, seedling density was significantly greater in stands at lower elevations where shade-tolerant Aextoxicon punctatum was important. Chusquea spp. and Lophosoria quadripinnata, both understory species, had a significant negative effect on seedling density. Basal area and canopy cover, per se, showed little relationship with seedling density. Vertical structure, evaluated through a crown index, had a significant relationship with seedling density, but the direction depended on the species (e.g., L. philippiana and A. punctatum) and the diameter structure within our plots. Fitted models that included these variables were highly significant, and in most cases their significance increased considerably (14 to 26 %) when we accounted for the diameter structures of the plots

Keywords : Laurelia philippiana; Aextoxicon punctatum; old-growth forests; vertical structure; Chusquea spp.

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