Long-term chronosequence of forest succession in the upper Rio Negro of Colombia and Venezuela

J. G. Saldarriaga, D. C. West, M. L. Tharp, C. Uhl

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410 Scopus citations


Following slash-and-burn agriculture, number of species increased during the early stages of succession, with stands 20 to 40 years old having a species richness similar to that found in mature forests. Basal area varied from 11 m2 ha-1 in a 10-yr-old stand to 37 m2 ha-1 in a mature forest. Dry weights are given for leaves, twigs, branches, stems and roots in successional and mature tierra firme forests. The biomass for each component for 10-yr-old and mature forest stands, respectively, was 6-11 t ha-1 for leaves, 11-23 t ha-1 for twigs, 9-76 t ha-1 for branches, 18-145 t ha-1 for stems and 7-65 t ha-1 for roots. Above-ground living biomass ranged from 44 t ha-1 for 10-yr-old stands to 326 t ha-1 for mature forests. Dead biomass varied from 1 t ha-1 for 20-yr-old stands to 53 t ha-1 for a mature forest. Above-ground living biomass increases linearly during the first 40 yr. No significant changes occur for the next 40 yr, because biomass accumulation is offset by death of long-lived successional species. About 190 yr was the estimated time taken by a previously-cultivated site to reach mature forest basal area and biomass values. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)938-958
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Ecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1988

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Plant Science


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