Competition and facilitation between tree individuals are two kinds of non-random processes influencing the structure and functioning of forest communities, but how these two plant-plant interactions change along gradient of resources or environments remains very much a matter of debate. We developed a null model to test the size-distance regression, and assessed the effects of competition and facilitation (including interspecific interactions, intraspecific interactions and overall species interactions) on each adult tree species assemblage [diameter at breast height (dbh) ≥5 cm] across two types of tropical cloud forest with different environmental and resource regimes. The null model test revealed that 17% to 27% tree species had positive dbh-distance correlations while 11% to 19% tree species showed negative dbh-distance correlations within these two forest types, indicating that both competition and facilitation processes existed during the community assembly. The importance of competition for heterospecific species, and the intensity of competition for both heterospecific and overall species increased from high to low resources for all the shared species spanning the two forests. The importance of facilitation for conspecific and overall species, as well as that the intensity of facilitation for both heterospecific and conspecific species increased with increasing low air temperature stress for all the shared species spanning the two forests. Our results show that both competition and facilitation processes simultaneously affect parts of species assemblage in the tropical cloud forests. Moreover, the fact that nearly 50% species assemblage is not detected with our approaches suggest that tree species in these tropical forest systems are assembled with multiple ecological processes, and that there is a need to explore the processes other than the two biotic interactions in further researches. © 2013 Long et al.
Long, W., Zang, R., Ding, Y., & Huang, Y. (2013). Effects of Competition and Facilitation on Species Assemblage in Two Types of Tropical Cloud Forest. PLoS ONE, 8(4). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0060252