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Because clearing forest for agriculture is the most common disturbance in the Neotropics, studies of post-agricultural recovery need to be conducted, both to understand rain-forest function and structure and to address important social issues such as deforestation, restoration, and sustainability. To assist that effort, the clearing, planting, cultivation, harvesting, and abandonment practices for common crops in the Neotropics, the post-agricultural environment and disturbance regime, and the recovery mechanisms are reviewed for their influence on the succession that follows abandonment. An important focus is on the four historical effects, or signatures, of crops: crop persistence, crop root exudate persistence, persistence of associated species, and indirect effects of herbicide and fertilization regimes. In addition, the effects of cattle introduced after cropping, such as hummock creation, soil compaction, and dung deposition, are discussed. Further, permanent plot tree data from Puerto Rico and Ecuador are summarized to guide an understanding of how trees invade and replace themselves. Finally, tabular summaries of completed Neotropical seed/seedling/sapling field experiments are used, both to examine what is known about the mechanisms of old-field succession in the Neotropics and to suggest research directions and successful restoration strategies. A species-specific and field type–specific investigation of tree-replacement mechanisms in the future is suggested, leading to replacement modeling using data from permanent plots.
Use of “cedar glades” and other terms by geologists, botanists, soil scientists, and zoologists to describe vegetation on rocky limestone soils in the Central (Nashville) Basin of Tennessee from 1851 to 2003 is reviewed. Historically, in the Central Basin “cedar glades” has been applied to the rocky openings / redcedar / redcedar–hardwood / hardwood forest complex primarily on the (thin-bedded) Lebanon limestone but also on other (thick-bedded) Ordovician limestones. However, “cedar glades,” “limestone glades,” and “limestone cedar glades” increasingly are being used by botanists and plant ecologists for the rocky openings only, which have C4 native annual grass–C3 annual/perennial forb-cryptogam-dominated vegetation. Some erroneous statements in the literature that have resulted from misinterpretation or misunderstanding of “cedar glades” and other terms are discussed. Finally, a graphical model of the (apparent) pathways of development of cedar glade vegetation from bare rock to forest in the Central Basin is presented.
About 250 fossil pollen types related to 113 extant angiospermous families from the Cretaceous and the Tertiary in China are discussed in the first part of this article. In the second part, comparisons of early records of fossil pollen in and outside China are made to trace the oldest fossil records. Based on these data, we conclude that many plants may have originated in China, a finding that may be important for the study of the origin and early development of angiosperms.