Hallé, F., Oldeman, R. A. A. & Tomlinson, P. B. (1978). Tropical Trees and Forests — An Architectural Analysis. XVII + 441 pages, 111 figs., 10 tables. Berlin‐Heidelberg—New York, Springer‐Verlag. ISBN 3‐540‐08494‐0. https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-642-81190-6

Preface: “This book is not an exhaustive survey of known information in the manner of a text-book – the subject is much too big for this to be possible in a relatively concise volume – but presents a point of view. We are concerned ultimately with the analysis of tropical ecosystems, mainly forests, in terms of their constituent units, the individual trees. Many different approaches are possible in the analysis of tropical forests. A simple one is to treat the trees as obstacles which in a military sense intercept projectiles or are a hindrance to foot soldiers (Addor et al., 1970). A similar ap- proach might be adopted by an engineer confronted by a forest which has to be removed to permit road construc- tion. The timber merchant is concerned with the ability of a forest to yield saleable lumber. The interest here is in the size of the larger trunks with some concern for the kinds of trees.

At a less destructive level the scientist aims to comprehend the forest from many different points of view. The forester himself, in conjunction with the taxonomist, will wish to analyze the floristic composition of the forest and perhaps account for species diversity in an evolutionary time scale (e.g., Fedorov, 1966; Ashton, 1969). The evolutionary biologist in his turn may be concerned with reproductive strategies in forest trees (e.g., Bawa, 1974), especially in a comparative way.

The approach adopted by the ecologist offers the greatest scope, since he may combine several different methods of analysis. Much research has gone into the physiognomy of tropical forests, size distribution of trees, stratification, diversity in relation to soil type or soil moisture content and has been summarized recently by Rollet (1974). Phenological studies of tropical forests have produced a great deal of data which reveals the extent to which flower- ing, fruiting and leaf fall mayor may not be seasonal (e.g., Coster, 1923; Holttum, 1940, 1953; cf. also Lieth, 1970). The production ecologist is interested in the forest as an efficient system for light interception and yield of dry matter, both in a relative and a comparative way (e.g., Kira, 1978; Kira et al., 1964, 1969; Monsi et al., 1973; Bernard – Reversat, 1975). Photosynthetic efficiency in terms initially of leaf and branch orientation but ultimately in competitive ability is another stimulating approach which is summarized in the description of trees as “crafty green strategists” (Horn, 1971).

A universal tendency in these approaches is to treat trees as equivalent units – as taxonomic, physiological, reproductive units and so on. Much less attention has been given to the trees in the forest as individuals. This is our approach. However, we do not merely regard trees as individuals at one point in time, but as genetically diverse, developing, changing individuals, which respond in various ways to fluctuations in climate and microclimate, the incidence of insects, fungal and other parasites but particularly to changes in surrounding trees. The tree is then seen as an active, adaptable unit and the forest is made up of a vast number of such units interacting with each other.”

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