Seed rain, soil seed bank, seed loss and regeneration of Castanopsis fargesii (Fagaceae) in a subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest
Understanding the seed rain and seed loss dynamics in the natural condition has important significance for revealing the natural regeneration mechanisms.We conducted a 3-year field observation on seed rain, seed loss and natural regeneration of Castanopsis fargesii Franch., a dominant tree species in evergreen broad-leaved forests in Dujiangyan, southwestern China. The results showed that: (1) there were marked differences in (mature) seed production between mast (733,700 seeds in 2001) and regular (51,200 and 195,600 seeds in 2002 and 2003, respectively) years for C. fargesii. (2) Most seeds were dispersed in leaf litter, humus and 0–2 cm depth soil in seed bank. (3) Frequency distributions of both DBH and height indicated that C. fargesii had a relatively stable population. (4) Seed rain, seed ground density, seed loss, and leaf fall were highly dynamic and certain quantity of seeds were preserved on the ground for a prolonged time due to predator satiation in both the mast and regular years so that the continuous presence of seed bank and seedling recruitments in situ became possible. Both longer time observations and manipulative experiments should be carried out to better understand the roles of seed dispersal and regeneration process in the ecosystem performance.