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Predicting the Formation of a New Upper Canopy Strata after Colonization of Native Shrublands by Pines

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Human alterations of landscapes often lead to colonization of ecosystems by new species, which may alter ecosystem structure and function. Understanding canopy changes is important for management of gradually changing ecosystems. Here, we develop a model that both explains and predicts the rate at which colonizing native Pinus halepensis form an upper forest canopy in native shrublands. We surveyed allometric properties of 602 pine trees, distributed throughout environmental gradients in the Mediterranean region of Israel, where native oak scrublands are being invaded by pines and converting to forests. We developed maximum likelihood models for growth and height of trees in different habitats. Growth fit a log-normal model as a function of height and height fit a power function in relation to age. Precipitation had the strongest impact on both height and shoot growth. The differences in height and growth among trees growing in different soil types and grazing regimes were relatively small, but statistically significant, and could be attributed to direct inhibition or indirect facilitation. In general, pines form an overstory in almost all colonized shrublands, converting them to forests, but the rate of canopy development varies across environmental gradients.
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Keywords: Mediterranean; Pinus halepensis; canopy structure; maximum likelihood; shoot growth

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2014-10-01

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.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2016 Impact Factor: 1.782 (Rank 17/64 in forestry)

    Average time from submission to first decision: 62.5 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
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