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Gaps in a gappy forest: plant resources, longleaf pine regeneration, and understory response to tree removal in longleaf pine savannas

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Abstract:

Resource availability and planted longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) seedling and understory vegetation response within and among three sizes of experimentally created canopy gaps (0.11, 0.41, 1.63 ha) in a mature longleaf pine savanna were investigated for 2 years. Longleaf pine seedlings and understory vegetation showed increased growth in gaps created by tree removal. Longleaf pine seedling growth within gaps was maximized approximately 18 m from the uncut savanna. Increased longleaf pine seedling survival under the uncut savanna canopy observed after the first year suggests that the overstory may facilitate establishment of longleaf pine seedlings rather than reduce survival through competition. Despite the relative openness of the uncut longleaf pine forest, light quantity was increased by tree removal. Light was also the resource most strongly correlated with seedling and understory vegetation growth. Although net N mineralization was correlated to seedling response, the amount of variation explained was low relative to light. Belowground (root) gaps were not strong, in part because of non-pine understory roots increasing in biomass following tree removal. These results suggest that regeneration of longleaf pine may be maximized within gap sizes as small as approximately 0.10 ha, due largely to increases in light availability.

Pendant 2 ans, les auteurs ont étudié la disponibilité des ressources et la réaction de la végétation de sous-étage et de semis transplantés de pin des marais (Pinus palustris Mill.) à l'intérieur et entre des trouées de trois dimensions (0,11, 0,41 et 1,63 ha) créées artificiellement dans une savane de pin des marais. Les semis de pin des marais et la végétation de sous-étage ont eu une croissance accrue dans les trouées créées par l'enlèvement des arbres. La croissance des semis de pin des marais dans les trouées était maximale à 18 m approximativement de la limite de la savane non coupée. L'augmentation de la survie des semis de pin des marais, qui a été observée après un an sous couvert dans la savane, laisse croire que l'étage dominant pourrait faciliter leur établissement plutôt que de réduire leur survie à cause de la compétition. Malgré que la forêt non coupée de pin des marais soit relativement ouverte, l'enlèvement des arbres augmente la quantité de lumière. La lumière est la ressource la plus étroitement corrélée avec la croissance des semis et de la végétation de sous-étage. Quoique la minéralisation nette de N soit corrélée avec la réaction des semis, la part de variation expliquée est faible comparativement à la lumière. Les trouées souterraines (racines) ne sont pas importantes, en partie à cause de l'augmentation de la biomasse racinaire des plantes de sous-étage autres que le pin des marais, suite à l'enlèvement des arbres. Ces résultats indiquent que la régénération de pin des marais pourrait être maximisée par des trouées aussi petites qu'environ 0,10 ha, surtout à cause de l'augmentation de la disponibilité de la lumière.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2001

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  • Published since 1971, this monthly journal features articles, reviews, notes and commentaries on all aspects of forest science, including biometrics and mensuration, conservation, disturbance, ecology, economics, entomology, fire, genetics, management, operations, pathology, physiology, policy, remote sensing, social science, soil, silviculture, wildlife and wood science, contributed by internationally respected scientists. It also publishes special issues dedicated to a topic of current interest.
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