Parental distance and plant density dependence of seedling leaf turnover and survival was examined to investigate predictions of the Janzen-Connell hypothesis. The focal study species, Shorea macroptera is a canopy tree species in a lowland rain forest in peninsular Malaysia. We found that the peak of the distribution of plants shifted from 3-6 m to 6-9 m during the course of the change from seedling to sapling stage. The leaf demography of the seedlings was influenced by their distance from the adult tree and also by the seedling density. Although significant density- and distance dependence in leaf production was not detected, seedling leaf loss decreased with distance from the parent tree and with seedling density. Similarly, leaf damage was not found to be distance- or density-dependent, but net leaf gain of seedlings increased with distance from the parent tree. Although no significant distance- or density-dependence was evident in terms of leaf damage, significant distance dependence of the net leaf gain was found. Thus, we concluded that positive distance dependence in the leaf turnover of seedlings may gradually contribute to a shift in the distribution pattern of the progeny through reductions in growth and survivorship.
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