Author(s): Plotkin JB, Potts MD, Leslie N, Manokaran N, Lafrankie J,
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Abstract The relationship between species diversity and sampled area is fundamental to ecology. Traditionally, theories of the species-area relationship have been dominated by random-placement models. Such models were used to formulate the canonical theory of species-area curves and species abundances. In this paper, however, armed with a detailed data set from a moist tropical forest, we investigate the validity of random placement and suggest improved models based upon spatial aggregation. By accounting for intraspecific, small-scale aggregation, we develop a cluster model which reproduces empirical species-area curves with high fidelity. We find that inter-specific aggregation patterns, on the other hand, do not affect the species-area curves significantly. We demonstrate that the tendency for a tree species to aggregate, as well as its average clump size, is not significantly correlated with the species' abundance. In addition, we investigate hierarchical clumping and the extent to which aggregation is driven by topography. We conclude that small-scale phenomena such as dispersal and gap recruitment determine individual tree placement more than adaptation to larger-scale topography. Copyright 2000 Academic Press.
This article was published in J Theor Biol
and referenced in Journal of Ecosystem & Ecography