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Population age structures, persistence and flowering cues in Cerberiopsis candelabra (Apocynaceae), a long-lived monocarpic rain-forest tree in New Caledonia


Read, J and Sanson, GD and Burd, M and Allen, K and Hua, Q and Kerr, S and Isnard, S and McCoy, S and Carrasco, M, Population age structures, persistence and flowering cues in Cerberiopsis candelabra (Apocynaceae), a long-lived monocarpic rain-forest tree in New Caledonia, Journal of Tropical Ecology, 37, (6) pp. 236-275. ISSN 0266-4674 (2021) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press

DOI: doi:10.1017/S0266467421000389


Cerberiopsis candelabra Vieill. is a long-lived, monocarpic (= semelparous) and mass-flowering rain-forest tree, endemic to New Caledonia. Population size structures suggest establishment has been episodic, followed by a recruitment gap that might signal population decline. Here, we use age structures based on tree rings to better assess population dynamics and persistence, and investigate influences of tree size, age and growth rate on flowering. Age structures of populations surveyed in 20072008 were unimodal, with establishment over c. 1581 y, followed by a recruitment gap of c. 2379 y. Seedling mortality was generally high. High densities of flowering trees or large-scale exogenous disturbances may be necessary for in-situ regeneration. There was no evidence of a simple flowering threshold: flowering in 2017 occurred across a wide range of tree size, age and growth rate. Instead, evidence suggested that size and age at flowering may vary among plants depending on their growth trajectory. Environmental triggers of flowering were not identified by dating tree establishment, but the last three mass-flowering events occurred in years of tropical cyclones. Regeneration and persistence might be facilitated if large-scale disturbances trigger flowering, improving reproductive efficiency by synchronising flowering and linking reproduction with environmental conditions that enhance seedling recruitment.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:flowering cues, mass flowering, masting, monocarpy, monodominance, population dynamics, rain forest, regeneration
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Ecological applications
Research Field:Ecosystem function
Objective Division:Plant Production and Plant Primary Products
Objective Group:Forestry
Objective Field:Native forests
UTAS Author:Allen, K (Dr Kathy Allen)
ID Code:147765
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:Geography and Spatial Science
Deposited On:2021-11-15
Last Modified:2021-12-21

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