TERN - LTERN - Connell Rainforest Plot Network - Davies Creek - Australia

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Basic Information

Site Name: 

TERN - LTERN - Connell Rainforest Plot Network - Davies Creek

Country (Site Location): 

Australia

LTER Member Network: 

Contact: Site Manager: 

Free Keywords: 

General Site Description: 

The Connell Rainforest Plot Network is a member of Long Term Ecological Research Network (LTERN), Australia (http://www.ltern.org.au), a facility of the Australian Government's Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN), (http://www.tern.org.au). The long-term forest dynamics plot at Davies Creek is located in the Dinden National Park circa 25 km southwest of Cairns, Northern Queensland. Temporal visits occur between 1 to 6 years.
General Characteristics, Purpose, History

Site Status: 

existing

Year Site Established: 

1951

Size : 

1.70ha

Purpose of Site : 

The Connell Rainforest Plot Network was established to collect demographic data (recruitment, growth and mortality) on rainforest trees to improve our understanding of the mechanisms that maintain plant species diversity in complex, species-rich tropical and subtropical rainforests. This objective has remained consistent throughout the study. Its research goal is to build a decades-long, comprehensive database of rainforest tree demography at sites to enable tests of hypotheses for the maintenance of diversity in tropical rainforest. Its research questions are: • How do long-term demographic patterns vary across life stages within and between species? • Is this variation correlated with plant functional traits? • Can interspecific variation in key demographic processes explain the maintenance of species diversity in these forests? • Can compensatory density and frequency-dependent recruitment, growth and mortality explain the maintenance of rare species in species-rich forests?

History of Site: 

The Davies Creek plot was initiated by Professor Joseph H. Connell (University of California, Santa Barbara) in 1963. It was put in over an existing 0.4-ha plot established by the Queensland Department of Forestry in 1951 (Nicholson et al. 1988), so the central part of the Davies Creek plot has records extending back more than six decades. This plot was originally an untreated ‘control’ site against which the effects of various silvicultural treatments could be assessed, so this site has never been logged or thinned. The plot was originally laid out and trees were mapped using imperial units (feet and tenths of feet). Stems were either measured for girth at breast height using inches and tenths of inches, or measured for height using feet and tenths of feet. These units have been used throughout five decades of monitoring, using measuring tapes especially imported from the United States. All measurements are converted to SI units for analyses and publication. The descriptions below use imperial measurements, with SI equivalents in parentheses. Large, medium and small trees have been sampled on the plots on varying schedules over several decades. In some years, just the new seedling recruits are mapped, tagged and identified. In other years, this survey may be completed in conjunction with a mortality survey in which all stems that were alive at the previous survey are checked again to determine if they still alive. A complete census in which recruitment, growth and mortality in the three sizes classes is undertaken occurs about once every six years, most recently in 2013. Research on these plots was funded by competitive grants from the National Science Foundation (USA) from 1963-2003.

Research Topics: 

Parameters: 

Photos
Geographic

Coordinates: 

Latitude: -17.021890000000
Longitude: 145.373130000000