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Stand Structure in Subalpine Forests of Yosemite National Park, California

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Variation of seedling densities and diameter-class distributions with site condition is examined for 5 coniferous tree species sampled in 30 stands between 2400 and 3300 m elevation in Yosemite Park, California. There is an apparent tolerance ranking from mountain hemlock and red fir (high tolerance) through lodgepole pine (intermediate) to whitebark and western white pine (low tolerance). Diameter curves for each species vary in form across environmental gradients, from stable, persistent forms (reverse-J and multimodal) on optimal sites to random forms on marginal sites. Multimodal diameter structure is common among populations in Sierran subalpine forests. In this climatically rigorous setting, interannual variability of conditions affecting seedling survival and growth rates may combine with canopy gap dynamics to yield stable diameter curves punctuated by discrete episodes of establishment, release and growth. For. Sci. 34(4):1047-1058.

Keywords: Diameter-class distribution; Sierra Nevada; environmental gradients; seedling density; tolerance

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Department of Geography, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602

Publication date: December 1, 1988

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
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