Disturbing hypotheses in tropical forests

Disturbing hypotheses in tropical forests

The intermediate disturbance hypothesis (IDH) is a controversial explanation for the
maintenance of tropical forest tree diversity, but empirical tests of it are rare. Two data
intensive evaluations have recently yielded contradictory outcomes: one for and one
against the IDH. This article proposes that the explanation for these results lies in the
subtleties of divergent interpretations and approaches, and in the different
characteristics of the study sites. The apparent simplicity of the IDH is deceptive,
because a range of distinct phenomena is involved, each of which can be defined and
examined. Recent developments offer exciting opportunities for a deeper
comprehension of how disturbance influences forest diversity.

Authors: Sheil, D.; Burslem, D.F.R.P.

Topic: disturbed forests,diversity

Publication Year: 2003

Source: Trends in Ecology and Evolution 18(1): 18-26


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