About this Research Topic
Spatial interactions between trees and their biotic and abiotic neighborhoods are fundamental for forest dynamics and functioning. Many ecological processes such as establishment and assembly of tree communities, tree growth, competition, facilitation, recruitment, and mortality are affected by, and affect, tree spatial patterns. Because spatial arrangements of trees result from past ecological processes, tree spatial pattern analysis may help to understand the underlying processes and mechanisms producing the pattern.
Over recent decades, the increasing availability of spatially explicit datasets from fully mapped forest plots have fuelled studies that used exact locations of tree individuals in space, i.e., spatial point patterns, to find evidence for inter- and intra-specific competition, density- and distance-dependent non-random mortality, seed dispersal limitation, etc. Furthermore, recent advancements in specialized statistical software have provided various tools that facilitate spatial point process modelling in ecology. However, publications on point process models are still underrepresented in ecological literature, and the majority of existing studies on tree spatial patterns have been limited to the use of a single summary descriptive statistic, often without fitting any point process models to the data. Moreover, previous ecological point-pattern analyses have sometimes lacked appropriate null hypotheses and null spatial models, and they rarely used replicated spatial patterns, thus relying on results from only one plot.
Apart from the methodological deficiencies, there is still some geographical imbalance in published tree spatial analyses. For example, while numerous studies have explored tree spatial patterning under different fire regimes in North America, reports from other regions, ecosystems, and types of management have been much less common.
Within this Research Topic, we encourage authors to fill the gaps in spatial ecological literature by submitting original contributions that analyze tree spatial patterns to expand our understanding of ecological processes. We welcome original research papers, reviews, method papers, and opinion articles that cover, but are not limited to, the following areas:
• Using point process modelling to test ecological hypotheses of tree spatial dependence,
• Relationships between tree spatial interactions and forest growth and mortality across Ecosystems, geographical regions, and management types,
• Spatial patterns and tree growth processes in human-modified and old-growth forests,
• The role of facilitation and competition in non-random spatial patterns of tree growth, recruitment, and mortality,
• Ecological analyses based on tree spatial pattern replicates, replicated either in space or time,
• complex tree pattern-process analyses using a range of complementary spatial statistics,
• Spatial analyses of marked point processes based on quantitative/qualitative marks of tree individuals,
• Tree-to-tree spatial interactions through their canopy or root contacts,
• New methods and techniques for analyzing spatial point patterns in ecology.
Keywords: Spatial pattern, Point Process Modelling, Density-dependence, Random Mortality, Competition, Facilitation, Dispersal Limitation, Second-order Spatial Statistics, Marked Point Processes
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.