Phenology and dynamics of an African rain forest at Korup, Cameroon

Newbery, David McClintock; Songwe, N. C.; Chuyong, G. B. (1998). Phenology and dynamics of an African rain forest at Korup, Cameroon. In: Newbery, David McClintock; Prins, H.H.T.; Brown, N.D. (eds.) Dynamics of Tropical Communities - 37th Symposium of the British Ecological Society. Symposia of the British Ecological Society: Vol. 25 (pp. 267-308). Oxford: Cambridge University Press

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In groves of ectomycorrhizal caesalpinaceous legumes in Korup, Cameroon, the most abundant of three co-dominant tree species, Microberlinia bisulcata, has had, and continues to show, very low recruitment. Replacement is likely to favour the two other guild members, Tetraberlinia bifoliolata nod T. morelitma. All three species produce large sufficient seedling banks.
Microberlinia bisulcata attained the greatest tree sizes and had the most pronounced mast fruiting pattern (a 3-year cycle). Masting was associated with peaks in the previous dry-season radiation suggesting a requirement to accumulate carbon reserves before fruiting. More circumstantial evidence points to phosphorus supply as a co-controlling factor.
The dominance of M. bisulcata is most likely due to a recently unique, natural historical event, an epoch of unusually dry years, which allowed its shade-intolerant ectomycorrhizal seedlings to outcompete other species. The putative fungal connections to parents appear to be of no advantage (possibly a disadvantage) to the seedlings under such mature adults.
The composition of Korup is neither constant nor cycling but a fragment of change which might be reset by climatic fluctuations coincident with potential regeneration of a species also adapted to the low-phosphorus soils and strongly seasonal conditions of the site. Understanding the dynamic& of such an African forest requires a stochastic view over several centuries.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)


08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)

UniBE Contributor:

Newbery, David McClintock


500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)




Symposia of the British Ecological Society


Cambridge University Press




Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

06 Jul 2017 13:59

Last Modified:

31 Oct 2017 16:45




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