Annals of Botany

How tree species fill geographic and ecological space

Ricklefs analyses local assemblages of deciduous trees and finds that the forests in question do not appear to be saturated with species.
How tree species fill geographic and ecological space
How tree species fill geographic and ecological space

Although ecological theory has, for a long time, addressed the premise that ecological space can be filled to ‘capacity’ with species, only with the availability of time-calibrated phylogenies has it been possible to test the hypothesis that diversification slows as the number of species in a region increases. Ricklefs analyses local assemblages of deciduous trees detailed in a previous study and finds that the forests in question do not appear to be saturated with species. The distributions and abundances of individual species provide little evidence of being shaped by competition from related (i.e. ecologically similar) species and, by inference, that diversification is constrained by interspecific competition.

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