“Recalcitrant understory layers” revisited: arrested succession and the long life-spans of clonal mid-successional species

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Abstract:

In their recent review of arrested succession, Royo and Carson (A.A. Royo and W.P. Carson. 2006. Can. J. For. Res. 36: 1345–1362) demonstrate that “recalcitrant understory layers” are widespread and pervasive modifiers of ecosystems and disruptors of forest regeneration. They rightly point out that many plant species associated with arrested succession are characterized by rapid vegetative spread. Extending their review, we point out that most of such species are clonal or thicket-forming and suggest that an additional reason why these plants so effectively suppress succession for extended periods is their long life-spans.

Dans leur revue de littérature récente au sujet de l’interruption du processus de succession, Royo et Carson (A.A. Royo et W.P. Carson. 2006. Rev. can. rech. for. 36 : 1345–1362) démontrent que les strates récalcitrantes du sous-bois sont des agents envahissants et largement répandus de modification des écosystèmes et de perturbation de la régénération forestière. Ils font remarquer avec raison que plusieurs espèces végétales associées à l’interruption du processus de succession sont caractérisées par une propagation végétative. Poussant plus loin leur revue du sujet, nous soulignons le fait que la plupart des espèces sont clonales ou qu’elles forment des fourrés et nous soumettons l’idée que leur longévité est une raison additionnelle qui explique pourquoi ces plantes interrompent si efficacement le processus de succession pendant de longues périodes.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2010

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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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