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Seedling recruitment in a northern temperate forest: the relative importance of supply and establishment limitation

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We quantified supply and establishment limitation as components of seedling recruitment for five species common to the temperate forests of central Ontario. Establishment limitation was the primary cause of recruitment failure for the three most common species: Acer saccharum Marsh., Betula alleghaniensis Britt., and Tsuga canadensis (L.) Carrière. The main barrier to establishment (including germination and seedling emergence) was a lack of suitable substrates, rather than a lack of light. Supply limitation, on the other hand, was the primary cause of recruitment failure for two less common species, Abies balsamea (L.) Mill. and Fagus grandifolia Ehrh. The cause of supply limitation was a lack of parent trees, in the case of A. balsamea, and low fecundity, in the case of F. grandifolia. Our results suggest that niche differences (i.e., germination requirements) are more important than dispersal in structuring temperate forest communities. Our results also suggest that availability of suitable substrates is the primary factor limiting seedling recruitment following logging.

Nous avons quantifié l'approvisionnement et les contraintes liées à l'établissement en tant que composantes du recrutement des semis de cinq espèces communes dans les forêts tempérées du centre de l'Ontario. Les contraintes liées à l'établissement étaient la principale cause d'échec du recrutement des trois espèces les plus communes: Acer saccharum Marsh., Betula alleghaniensis Britt. et Tsuga canadensis (L.) Carrière. Le principal obstacle au recrutement (incluant la germination et l'émergence des semis) était le manque de substrats adéquats plutôt que le manque de lumière. Un approvisionnement déficient était par contre la principale cause d'échec du recrutement des deux espèces moins fréquentes : Abies balsamea (L.) Mill. et Fagus grandifolia Ehrh. La cause de cet approvisionnement déficient était le manque d'arbres-parents dans le cas d'A. balsamea et la fécondité réduite dans le cas de F. grandifolia. Nos résultats indiquent que les différences de niche (c.-à-d. les conditions de germination) sont plus importantes que la dispersion pour structurer les communautés forestières en milieu tempéré. Nos résultats indiquent également que la disponibilité de substrats adéquats est le principal facteur qui limite le recrutement des semis après la récolte.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2005

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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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