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In Site Soil Seed-Banks: Size, Composition and Persistence across Tropical Successional Stages

Article

Benitez-Malvido, J

NA

2023

PLANTS-BASEL

12

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I investigated the size, composition and persistence of the seed-bank in primary forests, secondary forests and old-fields in southern Mexico. I also assessed the contribution of the seed-bank to regeneration relative to other propagule sources. In all habitats, I removed by hand all plants and litter and excluded the seed-rain. For one year, I counted the number of plant species (5-50 cm tall) emerged and grouped them into different growth-forms: trees, shrubs, palms, herbs, woody lianas, epiphytes and hemi-epiphytes. A total of 95 species emerged. The seed-bank size, composition and persistence showed strong variation among successional stages. Emergence was low for primary and secondary forests, but high for old-fields (19, 26, and 68 plants per m(-2), respectively). Herbs were the most abundant in the seed-bank and palms the less. Time had a negative effect on seed-bank size in primary forests and old-fields; whereas for secondary forests size remained constant throughout the year. The number of emerged plants in different growth-forms changed significantly across time for all successional stages. Overall, the seed-bank provided a greater number of plants in old-fields relative to other propagule sources combined. The results showed that forest modification alters the input of propagules throughout the seed-bank for different plant growth-forms.

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