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Intra- and interspecific variation in wood density and fine-scale spatial distribution of stand-level wood density in a northern Thai tropical montane forest

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 July 2009

Witchaphart Sungpalee*
Graduate School of Science, Osaka City University, Sugimoto 3-3-138, Sumiyoshi, Osaka 558-8585, Japan
Akira Itoh
Graduate School of Science, Osaka City University, Sugimoto 3-3-138, Sumiyoshi, Osaka 558-8585, Japan
Mamoru Kanzaki
Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan
Kriangsak Sri-ngernyuang
Faculty of Architecture and Environmental Design, Maejo University, Chiang Mai 50290, Thailand
Hideyuki Noguchi
Graduate School of Science, Osaka City University, Sugimoto 3-3-138, Sumiyoshi, Osaka 558-8585, Japan
Takashi Mizuno
Graduate School of Science, Osaka City University, Sugimoto 3-3-138, Sumiyoshi, Osaka 558-8585, Japan
Sakhan Teejuntuk
Faculty of Forestry, Kasetsart University, Bangkok 10900, Thailand
Masatoshi Hara
Natural History Museum and Institute, Chiba, Chiba 260-8682, Japan
Kwanchai Chai-udom
Faculty of Science and Technology, Thepsatri Rajabhat University, Lopburi 15000, Thailand
Tatsuhiro Ohkubo
Faculty of Agriculture, Utsunomiya University, Utsunomiya 321-8505, Japan
Pongsak Sahunalu
Faculty of Forestry, Kasetsart University, Bangkok 10900, Thailand
Pricha Dhanmmanonda
Faculty of Forestry, Kasetsart University, Bangkok 10900, Thailand
Satoshi Nanami
Graduate School of Science, Osaka City University, Sugimoto 3-3-138, Sumiyoshi, Osaka 558-8585, Japan
Takuo Yamakura
Graduate School of Science, Osaka City University, Sugimoto 3-3-138, Sumiyoshi, Osaka 558-8585, Japan
Anan Sorn-ngai
National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department, Bangkok 10900, Thailand
1Corresponding author. Email:


Tropical tree wood density is often related to other species-specific functional traits, e.g. size, growth rate and mortality. We would therefore expect significant associations within tropical forests between the spatial distributions of stand-level wood density and micro-environments when interspecific variation in wood density is larger than intraspecific variation and when habitat-based species assembly is important in the forest. In this study, we used wood cores collected from 515 trees of 72 species in a 15-ha plot in northern Thailand to analyse intra- and interspecific variation in wood density and the spatial association of stand-level wood density. Intraspecific variation was lower than interspecific variation (20% vs. 80% of the total variation), indicating that species-specific differences in wood density, rather than phenotypic plasticity, are the major source of variation in wood density at the study site. Wood density of individual species was significantly negatively related to maximum diameter, growth rate of sapling diameter and mortality of saplings. Stand-level mean wood density was significantly negatively related to elevation, slope convexity, sapling growth rate and sapling mortality, and positively related to slope inclination. East-facing slopes had significantly lower stand-level mean wood densities than west-facing slopes. We hypothesized that ridges and east-facing slopes in the study forest experience strong and frequent wind disturbance, and that this severe impact may lead to faster stand turnover, creating conditions that favour fast-growing species with low wood density.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2009

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