During the course of succession, the light availability at the forest floor decreases dramatically. As tree species differ in their shade tolerance, it is expected that species differ in their performance through succession. Here, I present the results of a transplant experiment established to study the survival and growth of seedlings of tropical tree species in successional stages differing in age in the Bolivian Amazon. Seedlings of nine tree species, ranging from pioneer to shade tolerant species, were planted in three successional stage (1, 10 and 20 years old). Survival and height growth rate were monitored during two years, after which a destructive harvest was done. Successional stage and species had an effect on almost all variables measured. Survival rate decreased with age of the successional stage, as did height growth rate and relative growth rate. This suggest that all species, regardless of their shade tolerance, perform better early. Results also indicate that different plant traits enhance survival at low light and growth at high light. This study suggests that differences in survival and growth among species at different successional stage play an important role in succession.


secondary forest, succession, growth analysis,

Marielos Peña-Claros

Presentation within symposium:

S-25 Secondary forest succession; theory, synthesis and application

Forest successional stage affects survival and growth of forest tree species differing in shade tolerance