Growth strategies differentiate the spatial patterns of 11 dipterocarp species coexisting in a Malaysian tropical rain forest
We examined relationships between mortality rate, relative growth rate (RGR), and spatial patterns of three growth stages (small, medium, and large trees) for 11 dipterocarp species in the Pasoh 50-ha plot. Mortality rates for these species tended to be positively correlated with RGRs, although the correlation was significant only at the small-tree stage. Seven species with high growth and mortality rates exhibited peaks in spatial aggregation at small distances (<100 m) in small trees, but this aggregation disappeared in medium and large trees. In contrast, the other four species with low growth and mortality rates aggregated at large distances (>200 m) throughout the three growth stages in all but one species. Negative associations between different growth stages were observed only for the high-mortality species, suggesting density-dependent mortality. The high-mortality species showed habitat associations with topography, soil type, and the forest regeneration phase after gap formation, whereas the three low-mortality species only had associations with the forest regeneration phase. A randomization procedure revealed that these habitat associations explained little of their spatial aggregation. Our results suggest that the growth strategy has a large effect on the structuring of the spatial distribution of tree species through mortality processes.