Quantifying ecological memory during forest succession: A case study from lower subtropical forest ecosystems in South China
发表在:Ecological Indicators 34 192-203    于:2013

ecological memory; indicators; forest succession; ecological resilience; succession trajectory


The concept of ecological memory provides a new perspective for research on forest succession by including historical factors and the initial state of ecological processes. However, there are still significant gaps between the concept and its application. We selected nine proxy indicators (plant species, soil seed banks, soil microbes, soil animals, birds, soil age, soil pollen, soil mineral distribution, and light environment) and developed a method to quantify ecological memory and succession in a subtropical forest succession in South China. Taking the climax-monsoon evergreen broad-leaved forest as the reference ecosystem, we found that ecological memory increased nonlinearly and accumulated following a specific assembly rule during succession. Memory concerning major soil microbes and soil animals, which improve the soil substrate, mainly accumulated from the initial to the early successional stage. Memory concerning the number of bird species and the availability of light, which ensure a source of regenerative seeds and the survival of understory seedlings, mainly accumulated from the early to middle successional stages. Memory concerning vegetation and soil seed banks mainly accumulated late in succession, guaranteeing that the ecosystem would reach the regional climax stage. Prospective memory was greater than retrospective memory in every successional stage except the late stage, which indicated that all stages but the late stage were undergoing progressive succession. Our study demonstrates that the concept of ecological memory and the proposed evaluation framework are useful for guiding research on succession and restoration, and especially for assessing how "far" a restored ecosystem is from a reference ecosystem or how far a restored ecosystem has deviated from its natural succession trajectory. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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