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  1. null (Ed.)
  2. Seed distribution and deposition patterns around parent trees are strongly affected by functional traits and therefore influence the development of plant communities. To assess the limitations of seed dispersal and the extent to which diaspore and neighbouring parental traits explain seed rain, we used a 9-year seed data set based on 150 seed traps in a 25-ha area of a temperate forest in the Changbai Mountain. Among 480,598 seeds belonging to 12 families, 17 genera, and 26 species were identified, only 54% of the species with mature trees in the community were represented in seeds collected over the 9 years, indicating a limitation in seed dispersal. Understory species were most limited; overstory species were least limited. Species with wind-dispersed seed had the least limitation, while the lowest similarity in species richness was for animal-dispersed species followed by gravity-dispersed species; fleshy-fruited species had stronger dispersal limitations than dry-fruited species. Generalized linear mixed models showed that relative basal area had a significant positive effect on seed abundance in traps, while the contribution of diaspore traits was low for nearly all groups. These results suggest that tree traits had the strongest contribution to seed dispersal and deposition for all functional groups examined here. These findings strengthen the knowledge that tree traits are key in explaining seed deposition patterns, at least at the primary dispersal stage. This improved knowledge of sources of seeds that are dispersed could facilitate greater understanding of seedling and community dynamics in temperate forests. 
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  3. Pascual, Mercedes (Ed.)
    When Darwin visited the Galapagos archipelago, he observed that, in spite of the islands’ physical similarity, members of species that had dispersed to them recently were beginning to diverge from each other. He postulated that these divergences must have resulted primarily from interactions with sets of other species that had also diverged across these otherwise similar islands. By extrapolation, if Darwin is correct, such complex interactions must be driving species divergences across all ecosystems. However, many current general ecological theories that predict observed distributions of species in ecosystems do not take the details of between-species interactions into account. Here we quantify, in sixteen forest diversity plots (FDPs) worldwide, highly significant negative density-dependent (NDD) components of both conspecific and heterospecific between-tree interactions that affect the trees’ distributions, growth, recruitment, and mortality. These interactions decline smoothly in significance with increasing physical distance between trees. They also tend to decline in significance with increasing phylogenetic distance between the trees, but each FDP exhibits its own unique pattern of exceptions to this overall decline. Unique patterns of between-species interactions in ecosystems, of the general type that Darwin postulated, are likely to have contributed to the exceptions. We test the power of our null-model method by using a deliberately modified data set, and show that the method easily identifies the modifications. We examine how some of the exceptions, at the Wind River (USA) FDP, reveal new details of a known allelopathic effect of one of the Wind River gymnosperm species. Finally, we explore how similar analyses can be used to investigate details of many types of interactions in these complex ecosystems, and can provide clues to the evolution of these interactions. 
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  4. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) and ectomycorrhizal (EcM) associations are critical for host-tree performance. However, how mycorrhizal associations correlate with the latitudinal tree beta-diversity remains untested. Using a global dataset of 45 forest plots representing 2,804,270 trees across 3840 species, we test how AM and EcM trees contribute to total beta-diversity and its components (turnover and nestedness) of all trees. We find AM rather than EcM trees predominantly contribute to decreasing total beta-diversity and turnover and increasing nestedness with increasing latitude, probably because wide distributions of EcM trees do not generate strong compositional differences among localities. Environmental variables, especially temperature and precipitation, are strongly correlated with beta-diversity patterns for both AM trees and all trees rather than EcM trees. Results support our hypotheses that latitudinal beta-diversity patterns and environmental effects on these patterns are highly dependent on mycorrhizal types. Our findings highlight the importance of AM-dominated forests for conserving global forest biodiversity. 
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  5. null (Ed.)