Dominance of the suppressed: Power-law size structure in tropical forests

C. E. Farrior, S. A. Bohlman, S. Hubbell, Stephen Wilson Pacala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Tropical tree size distributions are remarkably consistent despite differences in the environments that support them. With data analysis and theory, we found a simple and biologically intuitive hypothesis to explain this property, which is the foundation of forest dynamics modeling and carbon storage estimates. After a disturbance, new individuals in the forest gap grow quickly in full sun until they begin to overtop one another. The two-dimensional space-filling of the growing crowns of the tallest individuals relegates a group of losing, slow-growing individuals to the understory. Those left in the understory follow a power-law size distribution, the scaling of which depends on only the crown area-to-diameter allometry exponent: a well-conserved value across tropical forests.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-157
Number of pages3
JournalScience
Volume351
Issue number6269
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 8 2016

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Crowns
Solar System
Carbon
Forests

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

Cite this

Farrior, C. E. ; Bohlman, S. A. ; Hubbell, S. ; Pacala, Stephen Wilson. / Dominance of the suppressed : Power-law size structure in tropical forests. In: Science. 2016 ; Vol. 351, No. 6269. pp. 155-157.
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Dominance of the suppressed : Power-law size structure in tropical forests. / Farrior, C. E.; Bohlman, S. A.; Hubbell, S.; Pacala, Stephen Wilson.

In: Science, Vol. 351, No. 6269, 08.01.2016, p. 155-157.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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