Journal of Tropical Ecology

Short Communication

Relationship between seed size and litter effects on early seedling establishment of 15 tropical tree species

Fabiano Micheletto Scarpaa1 and I. F. M. Valioa1 c1

a1 Departamento de Fisiologia Vegetal, Instituto de Biologia, UNICAMP, Caixa Postal 6109, 13083–970, Campinas, SP, Brazil

A close relationship has been reported between seed size and many different plant traits such as seedling size, relative growth rate, seedling survival, distance of dispersion, colonization and density of seeds in the soil (Coomes & Grubb 2003, Jurado & Westoby 1992, Lahoreau et al. 2006, Saverimuttu & Westoby 1996, Souza & Valio 2001). Although the association of seed size and shade tolerance is unclear (Westoby et al. 1996) some authors have suggested that a larger-seeded species is better able to tolerate low light availability (Foster 1986, Foster & Janson 1985, Leishman & Westoby 1994) by producing a vigorous seedling with a higher ability to withstand predation (Armstrong & Westoby 1993, Foster 1986) and delaying the beginning of carbon fixation so as to increase survival under a canopy and under leaf litter.

(Accepted July 22 2008)

Correspondence:

c1 Corresponding author. Email: valio@pq.cnpq.br