How do tree competition and stand dynamics lead to spatial patterns in monospecific mangroves?
Abstract. Information on mangrove stand development is rare because long-term monitoring data is often lacking. Such information is important in order to plan management measures effectively. Novel approaches based on existing datasets are required to bridge this gap of knowledge. This study uses a unique combination of field data analyses with simulation experiments in order to demonstrate how information on mangrove dynamics can be extracted if data are sparse. The paper provides a baseline characterization of stand development in a monospecific pioneer mangrove stand of Kandelia obovata. Point pattern analyses revealed that in the young stage, self-thinning has started but has not yet lead to a regularity of spatial tree distribution in the entire stand, and trees located in smaller clumps hinder each other in growth but do not lead to a significant size class differentiation. However, after ca. 2 decades the self-thinning and the size class differentiation start to become more visible. A mutual inhibition of growth was observed within 2 m circular distance (r) in the young stage and within 3 m distance after two decades of stand development as confirmed by the negative values of mark correlation function. As a stand grows older the spatial pattern of individuals become more regular from a clustered pattern. In order to understand and predict the future stand development, simulation experiments were carried out by means of the individual-based model KiWi.