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Tree species versus regional controls on ecosystem properties and processes: an example using introduced Pinus contorta in Swedish boreal forests

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When species are introduced into new regions, there is great uncertainty whether the trait differences of the introduced species or regional factors, such as climate or edaphic properties, will serve as the dominant control of ecosystem properties or processes. In this study, we examined whether the introduction of Pinus contorta Douglas ex Loudon into Sweden has altered forest floor properties and processes or whether these properties are more strongly controlled by regional factors. We compared forest floor pH, potential N mineralization rates, bulk density, litter and forest floor depths, C and N concentrations and pool sizes, C:N ratios, and soil microbial communities using substrate-induced respiration and phospholipid fatty acid analysis among stands of introduced P. contorta (SwPc), native Swedish Pinus sylvestris L. (SwPs), and native Canadian P. contorta (CaPc). For most forest floor properties (pH, net NH4 + mineralization, bulk density, N mass, and the microbial phospholipid fatty acid community structure), SwPc sites were more similar to SwPs than to CaPc, whereas litter and forest floor depth were significantly higher in SwPc than the two other forest types. Our findings suggest that regional factors exerted a stronger control on most forest floor properties and processes than did species differences between the two Pinus species for the regions we studied.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Renewable Resources, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2H1, Canada. 2: Department of Forest Ecology and Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SE901-83 Umeå, Sweden.

Publication date: 2012-07-01

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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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