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Understanding the monodominance of Acacia drepanolobium in East African savannas: insights from demographic data

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dc.contributor.author Kenfack, David en
dc.contributor.author Arellano, Gabriel en
dc.contributor.author Kibet, Staline en
dc.contributor.author Kimuyu, Duncan en
dc.contributor.author Musili, Paul en
dc.date.accessioned 2021-05-28T02:03:45Z
dc.date.available 2021-05-28T02:03:45Z
dc.date.issued 2021
dc.identifier.citation Kenfack, David, Arellano, Gabriel, Kibet, Staline, Kimuyu, Duncan, and Musili, Paul. 2021. "Understanding the monodominance of Acacia drepanolobium in East African savannas: insights from demographic data." <em>Trees-Structure and Function</em>. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s00468-021-02127-6">https://doi.org/10.1007/s00468-021-02127-6</a> en
dc.identifier.issn 0931-1890
dc.identifier.uri https://hdl.handle.net/10088/110410
dc.description.abstract Key message The high mortality and low recruitment of the myrmecophytic Acacia drepanolobium are not consistent with the demographic rates of monodominant species. The positive conspecific density dependence observed from the spatial analysis is consistent with the defensive benefits conferred by symbiotic ants to trees when they grow close to each other. Patches of savanna dominated by Acacia drepanolobium occur throughout East Africa on nutrient-rich vertisols, also known as black cotton soils. We assessed the survival and recruitment for all freestanding trees with diameter at knee height (dkh) &gt;= 10 mm in one of such mono-dominated patches (47 ha) at the Mpala Research Centre, Kenya, with the aim of identifying demographic traits that might explain the dominance of this species. Over a mean 6-year interval, mortality and recruitment rates in the habitat were 4.55%/year and 1.42%/year respectively, resulting in a net loss of 17.8% of the initial individuals. Of the 30 species recorded from the first census, 11 decreased in abundance, nine increased, and the remainder 10 did not change in abundance. The monodominant A. drepanolobium had a high mortality (4.69%/year), a low recruitment (1.31%/year), and a 19% population decline. There was no evidence of conspecific negative density dependence for this species. Rather, we found a statistically significant positive correlation between the number of conspecific neighbors and individual-level probability of survival, consistent with the &quot;shared defense&quot; benefits that symbiotic ant colonies occupying multiple trees can confer to these latter in a small neighborhood. Thus, mortality of A. drepanolobium was higher in areas where it occurred in lower densities, which resulted in an increase in the spatial aggregation of conspecifics. Mortality increased with dkh size classes and was mostly caused by elephants and stem-boring beetles. The demographic rates during the study period in theory are inconsistent with those of monodominant species. The protection against herbivory conferred by mutualistic ants associated with this species remains the most probable explanation of its dominance in this habitat. en
dc.relation.ispartof Trees-Structure and Function en
dc.title Understanding the monodominance of Acacia drepanolobium in East African savannas: insights from demographic data en
dc.type Journal Article en
dc.identifier.srbnumber 159518
dc.identifier.doi 10.1007/s00468-021-02127-6
rft.jtitle Trees-Structure and Function
dc.description.SIUnit STRI en


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