Abundance and growth of Desmoncus orthacanthos Mart. (Palmae) in response to light and ramet harvesting in five forest sites in Belize


S Siebert

Document Type


Publication Date


Volume Number


Source Publication

Forest Ecology and Management


The abundance, distribution and growth rates of the economically-important climbing palm, Desmoncus orthacanthos Mart., was investigated in response to cane harvesting, light and edaphic conditions in five forest sites in Belize. Desmoncus orthacanthos genet (i.e. entire plant) and ramet (i.e. individual cane or shoot) populations were abundant throughout Belize, ranging from 40 to 232 genets ha‚à í1 and 72 to 532 ramets ha‚à í1 in the five forest sites. Median genet and ramet populations and ramet lengths were significantly greater in high than low-light environments and in freely versus poorly drained sites based on Mann‚ÄìWhitney U-tests. Similarly, the median number of new ramets produced and ramet growth were significantly greater on plants growing in high-light than low-light conditions and on plants in which ramets had been harvested versus unharvested controls 24 months after ramet harvesting. Desmoncus orthacanthos abundance, distribution and growth characteristics are typical of a wide-ranging generalist species.