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Historical patterns of oak population expansion in the Chautauqua Hills, Kansas

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Rates of tree population expansion have increased in many North American landscapes that were mosaics of grasslands, savannas and woodlands historically. Consequences of woodland expansion include reduced economic return from grazing and changes in native biodiversity, but causes of woodland expansion are poorly understood. We address historical timing of blackjack oak (Quercus marilandica) and post oak (Quercus stellata) population expansion in tree–grass ecosystems, roles of climate and land use in driving this expansion, and future stability of these woodlands.
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Keywords: Age structure; Cross Timbers; Kansas; Quercus marilandica; Quercus stellata; fire ecology; mesophication; tree recruitment; woodland dynamics; woody plant encroachment

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2014

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