Responses in growth and dynamics of the shade-tolerant species Theobroma subincanum to logging gaps in the Eastern Amazon

  • Nisângela-Severino Lopes-Costa State University of the Tocantins Region of Maranhão, Department of Forest Engineering, R. Godofredo Viana, 1300, 65900-000 Imperatriz, Maranhão
  • Fernando-Cristovam da-Silva-Jardim Federal Rural University of Amazonia, Department of Forest Engineering, Av. Presidente Tancredo Neves, 2501, 66077-530 Belém, Pará.
  • Jaqueline Macedo-Gomes State University of the Tocantins Region of Maranhão, Department of Forest Engineering, R. Godofredo Viana, 1300, 65900-000 Imperatriz, Maranhão.
  • Luiz-Fernandes Silva-Dionisio State University of Pará, Department of Forest Engineering, Tv. Dr. Enéas Pinheiro, 2626, 66095-015 Belém, Pará.
  • Gustavo Schwartz Embrapa Eastern Amazon, Department of Forest Ecology and Management, P.O. Box 48, 66095-100 Belém, Pará.


Aim of study: To assess responses of the shade-tolerant species Theobroma subincanum in relation to canopy gaps created by reduced impact logging (RIL).

Materials and methods: A managed forest in themunicipality ofMoju, Pará state,Brazil, harvested in 1997 through RIL was monitored during 12 years (1998-2010). Nine logging gaps were selected and classified in small, medium, and large. Four 10 m x 50 m strips starting from the gap’s border towards the forest and following the directions of cardinal points were installed. Each strip was divided in five 10 m x 10 m plots. Density, diameter distribution (DBH ≥ 5 cm with intervals = 5 cm), and diameter growth were measured.

Main results: No significant changes in seedling density of T. subincanum were found, and its diameter distribution followed the reverse “J” shape during all monitoring time. T. subincanum presented diameter growth of 0.15 cm year-1 with highest Periodic Annual Increment in diameter up to three years, and stabilization in nine years after RIL. The species responded to a growth gradient inversely proportional to the gap’s border distance (p = 0.001) but not to gap size and plots direction in cardinal points around the gap.

Research highlights: Shade-tolerant species such as T. subincanum have sensible and positive growth responses to disturbances caused by RIL even when seedlings received low amounts of indirect sunlight. These positive responses should be considered in the management of production forests.

Keywords: Ecological group; forest management; diameter distribution; reduced impact logging (RIL).


Download data is not yet available.


Abiyu A, Mokria M, Gebrekirstos A, Bräuning A, 2018. Tree-ring record in Ethiopian church forests reveals successive generation differences in growth rates and disturbance events. For Ecol Manage, 409: 835-844.

Alvares CA, Stape JL, Sentelhas PC, Gonçalves JLM, Sparovek G, 2013. Köppen's climate classification map for Brazil. Meteorol Z, 22 (6): 711-728.

Alverson WS, Whitlock BA, Nyffeler R, Bayer C, Baum DA, 1999. Phylogeny of the core Malvales: evidence from ndhF sequence data. Am J Bot, 86 (10): 1474-1486.

Barton AM, 1984. Neotropical pioneer and shade - tolerant tree species: do they partition tree fall gaps? Trop Ecol 25: 196-202.

Brokaw NVL, 1985. Gap‐phase regeneration in a tropical forest. Ecololgy 66 (3): 682-687.

Dardengo JFE, Rossi AAB, Silva BM, Silva IV, Silva CJ, Sebbenn AM, 2016. Diversity and spatial genetic structure of a natural population of Theobroma speciosum (Malvaceae) in the Brazilian Amazon. Internat J Trop Biol, 64 (3): 1091-1100.

Darrigo MR, Venticinque EM, Santos FAM, 2016. Effects of reduced impact logging on the forest regeneration in the central Amazonia. Forest Ecol Manage, 360: 52-59.

Denslow JS, 1980. Gap partitioning among tropical rain forest trees. Biotropica, 12: 47-55.

Dionisio LFS, Schwartz G, Lopes JC, Oliveira FA, 2018. Growth, mortality, and recruitment of tree species in an Amazonian rainforest over 13 years of reduced impact logging. Forest Ecol Manage, 430: 150-156.

Dionisio LFS, Schwartz G, Lopes JC, Santos GGA, Oliveira FA, 2017. Mortality of stocking commercial trees after reduced impact logging in eastern Amazonia. Forest Ecol Manage, 401: 1-7.

Grogan JS, Jennings SB, Landis RM, Schulze A, Baima AMV, Lopes JCA, Norghauer JM, Oliveira LR, Pantoja F, Pinto D, Silva JNM, Vidal E, Zimmerman BL, 2008. What loggers leave behind: impacts on big-leaf mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) commercial populations and potential for post-logging recovery in the Brazilian Amazon. Forest Ecol Manage, 255: 269-281.

Instituto Brasileiro de Geografa e Estatística - IBGE, 2012. Manual técnico da vegetação brasileira. 2. ed. Rio de Janeiro. 275 pp.

Jardim FCS, 2015. Natural regeneration in tropical forests. Rev Ci Agr, 58 (1): 105-113.

Kobe RK, Pacala SW, Silander JRJA, Canham CD, 1995. Juvenile tree survivorship as a component of shade tolerance. Ecol Appl 5 (2): 517-532.

Neves RLP, Schwartz G, Lopes JCA, Leão FM, 2019. Post-harvesting silvicultural treatments in canopy logging gaps: medium-term responses of commercial tree species under tending and enrichment planting. Forest Ecol Manage, 451: Article 117521.

R core team. R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing. Version 3.6.1. [Vienna]: R Core Team, 2019.

Rivas LH, Giustina LD, Luz LN, Karsburg IV, Pereira TNS, Rossi AAB, 2013. Genetic diversity in natural populations of Theobroma subincanum Mart. in the Brazilian Amazon. Genet Mol Res, 12 (4): 4998-5006.

Schwartz G, Falkowski V, Peña-Claros M, 2017. Natural regeneration of tree species in the Eastern Amazon: short-term responses after reduced-impact logging. Forest Ecol Manage, 385: 97-103.

Schwartz G, Lopes JCA, Kanashiro M, Mohren GMJ, Peña-Claros M, 2014. Disturbance level determines the regeneration of commercial tree species in the Eastern Amazon. Biotropica, 46 (2): 148-156.

Schwartz G, Lopes JCA, Lopes JCA, Mohren GMJ, Peña-Claros M, Kanashiro M, 2012. Mid-term effects of reduced-impact logging on the regeneration of seven tree commercial species in the Eastern Amazon. Forest Ecol Manage, 274: 116-125.

Silva BM, Rossi AAB, Dardengo JFE, Silva CR, Silva IV, Silva ML, Silva CJ, 2015. Genetic structure of natural populations of Theobroma in the Juruena National Park, Mato Grosso State, Brazil. Genet Mol Res, 14 (3): 10365-10375.

Whitlock MC, Ingvarsson PK, Hatfield T, 2000. Local drift load and the heterosis of interconnected populations. Hered, 84 (4): 452-457.

Whitmore TC, 1989. Canopy gaps and the two major groups of forest trees. Ecology 70: 536-538.

Yguel B, Piponiot C, Mirabel A, Dourdain A, Hérault B, Gourlet-Fleury S, Forget PM, Fontaine C, 2019. Beyond species richness and biomass: impact of selective logging and silvicultural treatments on the functional composition of a neotropical forest. Forest Ecol Manage, 433: 528-534.

How to Cite
Lopes-CostaN.-S., da-Silva-JardimF.-C., Macedo-GomesJ., Silva-DionisioL.-F., & SchwartzG. (2020). Responses in growth and dynamics of the shade-tolerant species Theobroma subincanum to logging gaps in the Eastern Amazon. Forest Systems, 29(1), e003.
Research Articles