Functional trait and community phylogenetic analyses reveal environmental filtering as the major determinant of assembly of tropical forest tree communities in the Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot in India

Abstract : Background: Improved understanding of the processes shaping the assembly of tropical tree communities is crucial for gaining insights into the evolution of forest communities and biological diversity. The climate is thought to be the first order determinant of abundance and distribution patterns of tree species with contrasting traits such as evergreen and deciduous leaf phenology. However, the relative role of neutral, and niche-based processes in the evolution of these patterns remain poorly understood. Methods: Here, we perform an integrated analysis of the data on tree species abundance, functional traits and community phylogeny from a network of 96 forest plots, each 1 ha in size, distributed along a broad environmental gradient in the central Western Ghats, India. Then, we determine the relative importance of various process in assembly and structuring of tropical forest communities with evergreen and deciduous leaf phenology.
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K. Nagaraju Shivaprakash, B. Ramesh, Ramanan Umashaanker, Selvadurai Dayanandan. Functional trait and community phylogenetic analyses reveal environmental filtering as the major determinant of assembly of tropical forest tree communities in the Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot in India. Forest Ecosystems, Springer, 2018, 5 (1), ⟨10.1186/s40663-018-0144-0⟩. ⟨hal-02099859⟩

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