Nimal Gunatilleke

Nimal Gunatilleke
University of Peradeniya | UOP · Department of Botany

About

152
Publications
129,054
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8,263
Citations
Citations since 2017
22 Research Items
4036 Citations
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20172018201920202021202220230200400600
20172018201920202021202220230200400600

Publications

Publications (152)
Preprint
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Aim: Global forests and their structural and functional features are shaped by many mechanisms that impact tree vital rates. Although many studies have tried to quantify how specific mechanisms influence vital rates, their relative importance among forests remains unclear. We aimed to assess the patterns of variation in vital rates among species an...
Article
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ForestGEO is a network of scientists and long-term forest dynamics plots (FDPs) spanning the Earth's major forest types. ForestGEO's mission is to advance understanding of the diversity and dynamics of forests and to strengthen global capacity for forest science research. ForestGEO is unique among forest plot networks in its large-scale plot dimens...
Conference Paper
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Lower montane forest in "Knuckles Forest Reserve" is important due to harbouring of high biodiversity and provision of watershed services to Sri Lanka. In the British colonial era, these forests were cleared for coffee and tea plantations. However, some of these lands were abandoned due to low yield. Presently, these abandoned lands are dominated w...
Article
Little work has examined the spatial and temporal changes of a tropical rain forest for long time periods. Here, we present an analysis of long-term plot data from a Sri Lankan Mixed-Dipterocarp forest (MDF). The plots were established in 1978 at three different elevations (low - 335m, medium - 560 m, and high - 915 m). At each site we measured all...
Conference Paper
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Seed arrival initiates the natural forest regeneration on degraded sites. However, the arrival and survival of tree seeds is often scarce in human-induced tropical grasslands even decades after agricultural activities have ceased. We tested the hypothesis that secondary succession in human-induced grasslands in central Sri Lanka is limited by low s...
Article
Mangroves are highly adapted to extreme environmental conditions that occur at the interface of salt and fresh water. Adaptations to the saline environment during germination are a key to mangrove survival, and thereby, its distribution. The main objective of this research was to study the effect of salinity on seed germination of selected mangrove...
Conference Paper
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Process that maintains species diversity, species richness and species distribution are one of the central questions in ecology. There are dozens of theories proposed to explain distribution patterns of the species (e.g. Hutchison’s hyper-volume concept (1957), Mc-Arthur ‘s Broken stick model, Janzen-Connel effects, Chesson’s lottery model (1981),...
Article
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Survival rates of large trees determine forest biomass dynamics. Survival rates of small trees have been linked to mechanisms that maintain biodiversity across tropical forests. How species survival rates change with size offers insight into the links between biodiversity and ecosystem function across tropical forests. We tested patterns of size-de...
Article
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Hülsmann and Hartig suggest that ecological mechanisms other than specialized natural enemies or intraspecific competition contribute to our estimates of conspecific negative density dependence (CNDD). To address their concern, we show that our results are not the result of a methodological artifact and present a null-model analysis that demonstrat...
Article
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Chisholm and Fung claim that our method of estimating conspecific negative density dependence (CNDD) in recruitment is systematically biased, and present an alternative method that shows no latitudinal pattern in CNDD. We demonstrate that their approach produces strongly biased estimates of CNDD, explaining why they do not detect a latitudinal patt...
Chapter
Among homegarden research, few studies assess and compare ecosystem services provided by different systems. This chapter discusses the similarity and differences in structural characteristics, functions, ecosystem services, and biodiversity of different homegarden systems across Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam. A case study on Sri Lanka highlight...
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In South Asia, south-west Sri Lanka alone represents the sole surviving perhumid region where Mixed Dipterocarp Forests (MDF) harbour a number of relict signature taxa providing evidence of ancient plant migration routes from Gondwana to perhumid Far Eastern Sunda land, at least partially via southern Laurasia. Palynological and phylogenetic eviden...
Article
Full-text available
Maintaining tree diversity Negative interaction among plant species is known as conspecific negative density dependence (CNDD). This ecological pattern is thought to maintain higher species diversity in the tropics. LaManna et al. tested this hypothesis by comparing how tree species diversity changes with the intensity of local biotic interactions...
Article
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While the importance of local-scale habitat niches in shaping tree species turnover along environmental gradients in tropical forests is well appreciated, relatively little is known about the influence of phylogenetic signal in species' habitat niches in shaping local community structure. We used detailed maps of the soil resource and topographic v...
Article
Full-text available
Studies of forest dynamics plots (FDPs) have revealed a variety of negative density-dependent (NDD) demographic interactions, especially among conspecific trees. These interactions can affect growth rate, recruitment and mortality, and they play a central role in the maintenance of species diversity in these complex ecosystems. Here we use an equal...
Conference Paper
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Ecological data are often in a clustered structure since measurements of each tree are nested within individual trees, which are in turn nested within species. Considering these aberrations with the necessity of accounting for unbalanced repeated measures, and time varying predictor, multilevel modelling and its extension, longitudinal analysis of...
Conference Paper
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Since data in Ecology often fail the normality assumption, application of generalized linear mixed model (GLMM) is a solution to consider wide spectrum of probability distributions, and to incorporate both random and fixed effects into the model. This study was conducted using a Forest Dynamic Plot (FDP) of size 500 m×500 m (25 ha) in the Sinharaja...
Article
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The high species richness of tropical forests has long been recognized, yet there remains substantial uncertainty regarding the actual number of tropical tree species. Using a pantropical tree inventory database from closed canopy forests, consisting of 657,630 trees belonging to 11,371 species, we use a fitted value of Fisher’s alpha and an approx...
Article
The concept of ‘green economy’ has been brought into the mainstream policy discourse at the international level as a powerful tool in achieving sustainable economic development that promotes human well-being. Forests produce a range of both tangible and intangible ecosystem services and have an enormous potential to contribute to green economy. Des...
Article
Full-text available
Using a complete inventory method to analyze the species distribution of a rainforest is a daunting task due to the extensive area to be sampled. The answer for this problem is to find the most suitable sampling plot size, which realistically represents the entire species population distribution. In this study, optimal plot size, which contains the...
Article
Interactions among neighboring individuals influence plant performance and should create spatial patterns in local community structure. In order to assess the role of large trees in generating spatial patterns in local species richness, we used the individual species-area relationship (ISAR) to evaluate the species richness of trees of different si...
Article
Full-text available
The high species richness of tropical forests has long been recognized, yet there remains substantial uncertainty regarding the actual number of tropical tree species. Using a pantropical tree inventory database from closed canopy forests, consisting of 657,630 trees belonging to 11,371 species, we use a fitted value of Fisher's alpha and an approx...
Article
Full-text available
Global change is impacting forests worldwide, threatening biodiversity and ecosystem services including climate regulation. Understanding how forests respond is critical to forest conservation and climate protection. This review describes an international network of 59 long-term forest dynamics research sites (CTFS-ForestGEO) useful for characteriz...
Article
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Advances in forest carbon mapping have the potential to greatly reduce uncertainties in the global carbon budget and to facilitate effective emissions mitigation strategies such as REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). Though broad-scale mapping is based primarily on remote sensing data, the accuracy of resulting for...
Article
Rural communities have traditionally valued forests for a diversity of products and services, with timber serving a minor role. No-where has this diversity been greater than in tropical South Asia, and in particular south India and Sri Lanka. As economies advance towards full development and populations become increasingly urbanized, forests become...
Article
QuestionWhat strategies are most appropriate for restoring tree seedling recruitment whilst avoiding the spread of invasive plant species in high conservation value tropical forests disturbed by planting a shade-demanding crop?LocationKnuckles Forest Reserve, Sri Lanka (7°21′–7°24′ N, 80°45′–80°48′ E).Methods An experiment was conducted to test the...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
No: 333 Plant Science and Forestry The steep slopes covered with lower montane forests of the Knuckles Forest Reserve (KFR), were exploited for plantation of coffee and tea during the colonial era. At present, the lower montane forest patches on the eastern slopes are highly fragmented. These isolated forest patches are frequently interspersed with...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Mangroves are salt tolerant evergreen forests, consisting of woody plants that have highly developed morphological and physiological adaptations to extreme conditions. However, information on the germination ecology of most mangroves is scant. Aegiceras corniculatum (L.) Blanco (Myrsinaceae) is an ecologically important mangrove tree producing cryp...
Article
Long-term surveys of entire communities of species are needed to measure fluctuations in natural populations and elucidate the mechanisms driving population dynamics and community assembly. We analysed changes in abundance of over 4000 tree species in 12 forests across the world over periods of 6–28 years. Abundance fluctuations in all forests are...
Article
Advances in forest carbon mapping have the potential to greatly reduce uncertainties in the global carbon budget and to facilitate effective emissions mitigation strategies such as REDD+. Though broad scale mapping is based primarily on remote sensing data, the accuracy of resulting forest carbon stock estimates depends critically on the quality of...
Article
Niche and neutral theories emphasize different processes that contribute to the maintenance of species diversity and should leave different spatial structures in species assemblages. In this study we used variation partitioning in combination with distance-based Moran's eigenvector maps and habitat variables to determine the relative importance of...
Article
Full-text available
The relationship between species richness and ecosystem function, as measured by productivity or biomass, is of long-standing theoretical and practical interest in ecology. This is especially true for forests, which represent a majority of global biomass, productivity and biodiversity. Here, we conduct an analysis of relationships between tree spec...
Article
Full-text available
Neutral and niche theories give contrasting explanations for the maintenance of tropical tree species diversity. Both have some empirical support, but methods to disentangle their effects have not yet been developed. We applied a statistical measure of spatial structure to data from 14 large tropical forest plots to test a prediction of niche theor...
Article
Full-text available
The integration of ecology and evolutionary biology requires an understanding of the evolutionary lability in species' ecological niches. For tropical trees, specialization for particular soil resource and topographic conditions is an important part of the habitat niche, influencing the distributions of individual species and overall tree community...
Chapter
Fragmentation of the continuous tropical forest-scape into isolated remnant forest patches among seas of human influenced alternative landscapes is a widespread pantropical phenomenon compounded by the emerging impacts of global climate change events (Loo et al. 2011). Sri Lanka, with exceptionally rich biodiversity, particularly in its aseasonal s...
Article
Both habitat filtering and dispersal limitation influence the compositional structure of forest communities, but previous studies examining the relative contributions of these processes with variation partitioning have primarily used topography to represent the influence of the environment. Here, we bring together data on both topography and soil r...
Article
1. One of the primary goals in community ecology is to determine the relative importance of processes and mechanisms that control biodiversity. Here, we examined habitat-driven species assemblages and species distribution patterns as well as their temporal variations for three life stages of two censuses of a 25-ha mixed dipterocarp forest at Sinha...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods The relationship between species richness and ecosystem function, as measured by productivity or biomass, has been the subject of decades of research and fervent debate. Several theoretical models predict a hump-shaped relationship, with peak richness occurring at intermediate levels of ecosystem function, while other m...